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King Crimson - Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.54 | 604 ratings

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4 stars I've been living with A Scarcity Of Miracles for a week or so now, an album that certainly doesn't reveal much on the first listen and even seven or eight plays later I'm only starting to realise what a special album it is. Is it a King Crimson album? Well no not really. The sleeve labels it a King Crimson Projekt but the emphasis is on this being an album from Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins (with Levin and Harrison). Musically elements of the mellower side of King Crimson kick in here and there but ultimately as much as we'd all love another Crimson album I think we have to treat this as a sideline for the players involved, despite three out of the five players having featured on past KC albums. You can make that four out of five ex- KC members if we count Gavin Harrisons live stint with them.

As I already said, this album takes some getting into, it doesn't reveal its charms easily. The melodies are very subtle and even after quite a few plays they don't exactly leap out at you. A Scarcity Of Miracles is an album pretty much on one level, with perhaps the exception of The Other Man, the only time they raise the decibels a little and even then it's nowhere near the ferocity of say Red or more recently Level Five. It does turn out to be the most KC moment though.

So overall we have a fairly mellow affair of jazz inflected songs, well-crafted and beautifully played by some of the most inventive musicians ever to play in prog rock. Robert Fripp is credited with guitars and soundscapes, the latter being a very fitting description of the soundscapes actually that underpin much of the material here. Very effective they are too as a base for the music to build on which moves along at a fairly sedate pace, never overly busy with plenty of room to breathe. Nevertheless if proof were needed, you don't have to bludgeon people to death with breakneck speed chops to impress. The rhythm section of Tony Levin and Gavin Harrison is incredibly inventive and come up with a rhythmic backdrop that in lesser hands, in view of the nature of the songs here, could have been a lot more pedestrian. Fans of early seventies KC will need no introduction to Mel Collins who's distinctive flourishes are an integral part to the overall sound here as he weaves through the music, often with short bursts but really makes his presence felt with his excellent soloing on Secrets. Fripp shares his guitar duties with Jakko M Jakszyk but don't be expecting the busy interplay that he and Adrian Belew share. Here they leave lots of space, playing clean chords and delicately picked notes. Jakszyk proves to be an inventive vocalist, his pure tones handling the complex melodies with ease.

If I'd reviewed this album a week ago after only a couple of plays I'd have struggled to give it three stars to be honest, perhaps even only two! Such is the depth and disguised complexity of this music however that you really have to live with it a while to do it full justice. I'm glad I waited and am now able to award it a deserved four stars. Give it time, don't expect it to be the new King Crimson album and you'll find it's worth the effort.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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