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King Crimson Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles album cover
3.54 | 626 ratings | 27 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. A Scarcity of Miracles (7:27)
2. The Price We Pay (4:49)
3. Secrets (7:48)
4. This House (8:37)
5. The Other Man (5:59)
6. The Light of Day (9:02)

Total Time 43:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Fripp / guitars, effects ("soundscapes")
- Jakko M. Jakszyk / guitars, vocals, guzheng, keyboards
- Mel Collins / alto & soprano saxophones, flute

- Tony Levin / bass, Chapman stick
- Gavin Harrison / drums, percussion

Releases information

Subtitled "A King Crimson ProjeKct"

Artwork: P. J. Crook with Hugh O'Donnell (design)

LP Inner Knot ‎- KCLP21 (2011, UK)

CD Discipline Global Mobile ‎- DGM1101 (2011, Europe)

Thanks to m3g52 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KING CRIMSON Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles ratings distribution

(626 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KING CRIMSON Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins: A Scarcity of Miracles reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by lazland
4 stars For those who found the last two King Crimson albums, like me, a mess of utter noise, lack of direction, and, frankly, dire cacophonies, there was a little bit of trepidation when it was announced that this album was being prepared. What direction would Fripp take? Would it be a repeat of a formula that had well and truly gone past its sell by date, or would it herald something new and exciting?

Well, thankfully the latter is the case here. From what seemed to be a set of jamming sessions, a new and exciting phase in the history of what is one of the pre-eminent prog bands has been born, for, be under no illusions, with this lineup, it is a true Crimson ProjecKt.

My first proper listen of the album was when the You Tube video for the title track was posted on this site. I actually like the video (I know many don't), but one thing was unmistakeable - the quality of the music, playing, and production. It is a gorgeous track, starting off in the fashion of Fripp's many more ambient and experimental works, before morphing into a lilting, jazzy, and quite superb main section.

Mel Collins takes you back donkey's years, and his jazz bursts throughout the album on sax are a joy to behold. The rhythm section is stunning throughout, although with the names Levin and Harrison that should not altogether be a surprise. The twin guitars and soundscape work on keys by Jakszyk and Fripp complement each other very well, and at times some of this reminds me very strongly of the work Fripp did with Brian Eno, no small compliment, of course.

Naturally, Fripp is extremely distinctive, and this is easily the finest work on guitar he has put his name to in many a year, simply because the nature of the songs allows him to be heard again.

The most pleasant surprise, though, is Jakko Jakszyk. I vaguely remember him from English pop/jazz combo Level 42, who had a measure of success in the 1980's, but it was never really my "cup of tea". Similarly, I knew he had formed the Crimson tribute band, 21st Century Schizoid Band, with MacDonald and others, but they never really entered my radar, as I don't, as a rule, like tribute bands. Well, I am happy to announce that I was wrong. This man was born to create this type of music; intelligent, jazz influenced, rock. He has a lovely voice, which utterly sits alongside the masters he performs with as an equal. His vocal performance on The Price We Pay is one of the finest I have heard in many a year.

The first five tracks are a sheer pleasure to listen to, and if the album had stopped here, it would have come close to five star status. However, by The Other Man, the attention begins to wander a bit, until midway, it is rescued by a great riff and change of pace. The album closer, The Light Of Day, is, at nine minutes, easily four minutes too long, and you do, by this time, wish dearly for a change of tempo.

However, in the scheme of things, these are pretty minor quibbles, and if, as I hope, this album is the start of a long term collaboration, then I for one will be overjoyed. A series of albums and a tour are what I wish for here!

This album is easily the most commercial and accessible work Fripp has been associated with for many years, and I think this is both deliberate and as a direct result of Jakszyk's involvement. The man is a breath of fresh air after the last Crimson lineup ran out of ideas and direction.

Four stars for this, one of the finest releases of 2011, and I really hope a solid marker for future releases.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Is this a new incarnation of King Crimson? I suppose not, as the covernotes this is "a King Crimson ProjeKct". If it becomes the new King Crimson I would be neither surprised nor upset.

The band certainly has King Crimson creds. Robert Fripp and Tony Levin we all know. Mel Collins, who seemed to be almost everywhere in British prog in the seventies finally resurfaces. Collins had appeared on King Crimson albums from "In The Wake Of Poseidon" through "Earthbound" plus a guest spot on "Red". Jakko Jakszyk was in the 21st Century Schizoid Band (along with Collins). And drummer Gavin Harrison has a long list of prog appearances going back to the mid-eighties, most notably with Porcupine Tree.

The music on this album is consistently mellow, sophisticated prog, similar, but smoother than the soft tunes from the Belew era, perhaps closer in tone to the Sylvian/Fripp albums. Jakko's voice is similar in range and tone to Sylvian's, with a coolness that comes through even when filtered through complex harmonizers. While his guitaring works well here, it's to shine when you are playing along side Fripp. Tony Levin's sparse but growling bass lines add the power behind the music. Levin is such a master that he understands when not to play, as well as when to come forward.

The real reason to get this album is to hear the interplay between Fripp and Collins. Despite not playing together for about a quarter century (unless there are some albums I've missed), they seem to mesh as though they have been together for decades, Fripp playing his usual swirling complex rhythms, and Collins soloing on top.

The songs are all similar in tone, with only The Other Man, with an occasional heavier, more experimental sounding rhythm, breaking from the tone.

This album drew me in from the beginning, and continues to sound better and better after repeated listenings.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' - Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins (8/10)

Although the profusely verbose and imaginative band name Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins is being used to describe the collaboration between these musicians, for all intents and purposes; this is the latest contribution to the saga of King Crimson, and has been anticipated as such by fans. As one of the most innovative bands in rock music history, King Crimson are considered one of the big landmarks of prog, although guitarist Robert Fripp has really only been the only constant member of the band. That being said, King Crimson has been one of the few projects I know of that has been around for so long, and yet continues to take new directions in the music. 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' is the latest development of Fripp's search for fresh sounds, and while the innovator's age might be showing in the sheer mellowness of the music here, Fripp and his fellow musicians have created an album that continues the story of King Crimson well, although the record is less immediate than I would have first expected.

In 2003, King Crimson left off at an abrasive and experimental form of metal in 'The Power To Believe'; showing no signs that Fripp was beginning to let up his relentless pace. That was my first experience with the music of King Crimson, and to date; one of my favourite albums from the band over the course of their career. 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' therefore met much more anticipation from me than the typical, most often disappointing comeback albums would normally get. I had no idea where the collaboration of Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins would take them, and especially after a metal album almost a decade ago, I was somewhat surprised to hear just how mellow that 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' really is. There is still vitality to the sound of King Crimson, but the passion is much more subtle this time around, leaving large room open for ambiance, as well as subtle nuances that the musicians have been careful to include. While there is songwriting at work here, the tracks do not necessarily have catchy hooks to latch onto, or even much apparent structure at first. Of course, things are not so simple with King Crimson, and while the music may be a little too mellow at first to pay much attention, each repeated spin brings something new to light.

Maybe the most striking and standout sound to 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' is the piercing saxophone work of Mel Collins, and this is what really took me a while to warm up to the music here. At first, his short noodles over the otherwise guitar and atmosphere-based music sounded somewhat out of place; there where parts here where I honestly felt like I could be listening to a record by Kenny G at his most melancholic, rather than new output by one of the most innovative prog rock bands of all time. Although there still seems to be a little too much room given to Collins for his chippy, albeit tasteful sax playing, it is the most energetic and vital aspect of the sound here, and helps to give a little extra caffeine to an album that lacks some upfront attitude to it. An exception to the futuristic, atmospheric sadness of the album is the fourth track, 'The Other Man', which feels like the high point of the album. Although fairly brief when compared to the rest of the drawn out soundscapes and slower songwriting that 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' has to offer, it shows a fall back to a more familiar sound by King Crimson, with Fripp's schizophrenic guitar sensibilities, greater sense of direction and added dynamic from the band. 'The Other Man' was my rosetta stone for the album, and struck me at first listen, when the other songs took quite a bit longer to grow.

While this is a new sound for the King Crimson project, 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' may tend to be a little one-tracked. Especially when a listener first begins their journey with the album, the whole thing can feel a little too one-tracked, with the somewhat eerie soundscapes, mellow vocals, and always-prominent saxophone work jumping up at virtually every given instance. However, after several listens, 'A Scarcity Of Miracles' makes itself to be much more than it first was; while still not as miraculous as the band's masterpieces, this new incarnation of King Crimson has some fantastic things to offer, including a wealth of details, and an experience that only gradually dawns on the listener, rather than giving it all up at once.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars A scarcity of heaviness.

You'd think that with three out of five guys being from previous King Crimson line ups and Fripp being front and center that you'd be getting a Crimson album instead of a ProjeKct, but considering that most of the music is on the mellow side, this album doesn't quite make it to full Kingship. Perhaps a little too smooth jazzyesqe.

It's good to hear Mel Collins working with Robert again and of course the ubiquitous Tony Levin on bass. Gavin Harrison I know from Porcupine Tree, so the only real unknown element for me is Jakko M Jakszyk who gets first billing. Jakko provides a smoother vocal style and lighter guitar counterpoint to Fripp than now long time allie, Adrian Belew. So, the three headliners are the dominant elements in this quintet with Collins and Jakszyk mellowing things out and Fripp taking a more atmospheric role typically, making for an alternate vision of King Crimson of sorts. Reminds me a bit of Robert's work with David Sylvian in that regard although that was a heavier affair.

I would not recommend this album to those who only appreciate the darker and heavier side to King Crimson.

Review by m2thek
2 stars Here we come to another 2011 release from a classic prog band. Though not having been as long of a hiatus for them as Yes, King Crimson's A Scarcity of Miracles has nonetheless been highly anticipated in the community. However, even though this album is much more evolved from the classic era than their contemporary's, its lack of structure and excitement make it far less enjoyable.

The most enticing thing about A Scarcity of Miracles is the lineup. Of course, this is officially a "Projeckt," but we're just going to pretend like it's a full-blown King Crimson album. The main players are Robert Fripp, Mel Collins, and Jakko Jakszyk, on guitar, saxophone, and guitar, respectively. Just as these three names appear on the front of the album, they get the most time to shine. Tony Levin on bass and Gavin Harrison on drums are featured artists which is also reflected in the music, with these two being much less prevalent.

The performances of the main three are generally pretty good, and there's some nice interplay and trading off of passages between them. However, my favorite moments occur when all five members are going at once. Like always, Fripp achieves an incredible tone on his guitar that nobody else can even approach, and though it's a rare occurrence, it's always a pleasure to hear. Collins sax lines are heard more often and therefore not as special, but are also enjoyable.

While the individual performances are enjoyable, it's the execution that brings me down on this album. The music is very slow and ambient, with about half of it being comprised of passages without percussion or much rhythm at all. The first couple of times when the drums kick in midway through a song are really exciting, but it's a trick that is used in literally every song that grows tiring by the middle pieces. The moments that lead off every song have light, swirling sax and guitar lines, but without much musical direction, they all start to sound the same halfway through. It really feels like every time a new song starts, the whole album is starting over for how similar the passages sound.

I do enjoy the first two songs quite a bit, but for the next four, it's just feels like a rehashing of what's already come. Without much difference in composition, there's only so many times I can be excited by a saxophone trill or a slow drone from a guitar. Jakszyk's vocals don't help much, as they are nearly as ambient as the instruments. He sings with a pretty small range and like the music, quite slowly. Besides the different lyrics, his voice just seems like another instrument to add to the atmosphere.

While these ambient moments are not the entirety of the album, they are the majority. There are a few times when all five members are going that are actually quite good and are definitely the highlights. Unfortunately, they are too short and too few to keep me interested all the way through. With the music that's presented here, this could've easily been 30 minutes and I would get the same enjoyment out of it.

In the end, unless you really, really like soft, floating sax and guitar sounds, there's just not enough here to warrant a purchase. King Crimson and Fripp fanatics will probably want to check this out just to keep up with the band, but even with a modern sound, the music here isn't appealing enough to me to keep me coming back.

Review by The Doctor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars King Crimson On Muscle Relaxants

I have to admit to being quite underwhelmed by this album, in spite of the fact that five very talented musicians were on display here. When I heard that Collins, Fripp, and Jaksyk (from the Schizoid Band) were teaming up to make an album, I was really thinking it was going to be something special. Maybe a return to the older King Crimson style. In a way it is a return to that style. This whole album reminds me a great deal of the song Islands, only slowed down to about a quarter speed. Yes, this is old-style King Crimson at three beats a minute, with maybe a little smooth jazz thrown in for good measure. A cover of a Sade song would not be too out of place on this album. No Frippertronics here, merely soundscapes. Collins does add some nice sax here and there, but it isn't really enough to keep me interested. At only 43 minutes, the album actually seems to last much longer.

I have to admit to complete indifference to ambient music (what an ex-girlfriend of mine used to refer to as "music for the afterlife") and so this has certainly colored my opinion of this album. If you like ambient music, Fripps soundscapes or have had trouble sleeping lately, feel free to disregard this review. I can't really discuss the individual songs, because, in spite of having listened to it a good 10 times (I really tried to like this album), nothing sticks in my head. There are no memorable melodies (hard to have melody when the music is played that slowly) and no change in dynamics throughout the album. For me, it all blends together in one big ambient snooze fest.

I hate to rip apart such talented musicians, and really, I should say that this album is probably very good for what it is, but I don't like the direction they've taken here. If you, like me, don't really get into the ambient side of prog, you're not going to find a lot to like on this album. I've actually added a star to my rating due to some nice sax work from Collins and for the fact that I'm biased against it because I don't like the style. File in your medicine cabinet, next to your Xanax.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars Sub-titling this album "A King Crimson ProjeKct" (and, really, isn't it time to retire the precocious spelling?) can be interpreted two ways. It's either a crafty bid to snare the unsuspecting KC fan by association, or else (my guess) a hint that the effort represents a tentative proposal for a possible new King Crimson line-up.

Either way, the arguably too-mellow results will likely alienate the more narrow-minded corners of its target audience, despite the attractive roster of old and new friends, spanning nearly every era in the long collective history of its parent band. Veteran KC alumni Mel Collins and Tony Levin need no introduction on these pages (I would hope); drummer Gavin Harrison (of Porcupine Tree) joined the touring Crimson in 2008; and relative newcomer Jakko Jakszyk has been orbiting the Crimson nucleus ever since his residency in the 21st Century Schizoid Band.

But listeners hoping for a return to the avant-metal of "Red" or the techno-gamelan of "The Power to Believe" might have to readjust their expectations. If this is a preview of a future King Crimson, we can anticipate an older, wiser, and far more relaxed monarch on the throne. Hardly surprising, given the maturity of the players: the average age of the quintet is an even sixty years old, with three members (Fripp, Collins and Levin) already well beyond that milestone.

All the music here originated in a series of guitar improvisations by Fripp and Jakszyk, and the polished songs retain much of that casual, unstructured charm. The general mood is one of mid-tempo melancholy and regret, anchored by Jakko's satin-smooth voice (a throwback of sorts to the dulcet tones of Boz Burrell), and by some of Mr. Fripp's warmest guitar soloing in decades: listen to "The Price We Pay" and "This House" for proof. The ace rhythm section isn't taxed too heavily (Porcupine Tree fans might feel cheated by Harrison's laudable restraint on the drum stool), and the soprano sax of an old pro like Mel Collins will likely sail right over the more hardcore head of some fans.

According to Fripp himself the album "has the Crimson gene, but is not quite KC." If true, the DNA dates back to the band's earliest, jazzier incarnations, filtered through forty years of musical growth and experience. But the title is unfortunate: why not advertise it instead as "An Abundance of Miracles"?

Give this one a little time. Like anything else from the Crimson court the album requires some distance and perspective to help make it work, and right now might be too soon after its initial release for an honest evaluation.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This sedated music is perfect for a somber, gray morning such as this. Despite the sleepy overall atmosphere, morphing from one hypnotic state to another, this is an incredibly engaging album. Mel Collins is indispensable, and the vocals of Jakko M Jakszyk fit beautifully. In a word, for those who like the King Crimson song "Eyes Wide Open," they too shall like this.

"A Scarcity of Miracles" Airy, gloomy textures mist through and around until at last they take shape, donning the apparel of foggy, calm jazz rock. The final two minutes, from which the title of the album is drawn, is brilliantly crafted. I daresay that this is one of the greatest pieces of music in which Robert Fripp has ever been involved.

"The Price We Pay" Opening with the Gu Zheng, this begins peacefully, but takes on the style of 1990s Adrian Belew-fronted King Crimson. That punctuated refrain is a perfect hook. The piece also offers plenty of easygoing guitar solos and various brass instruments woven together.

"Secrets" Over soft, dusky layers of sound come stunning vocal harmonies, saxophone interruptions, and tranquil guitar. The drums do not enter until halfway in, allowing the music a more definite shape that features an excellent riff speckled among the singing.

"This House" The most anaesthetized moment on the album, "This House" opens with layers of sound and vocalizations. While I appreciate the piece, it is less memorable than the first three songs. Collins erupts in a whirlwind of saxophone during the final moments, eventually fizzling out.

"The Other Man" The most dissonant and darkest of the six pieces, this takes the listener back to The Power to Believe. Tony Levin's bass is dominant in the middle verses, while the guitar lines occasionally hearken back to Discipline. Meanwhile, Gavin Harrison's drumming is erratically good, supporting the other musicians but shining all the while.

"The Light of Day" The final piece takes us all the way back to "Moonchild" from the debut King Crimson album, featuring whimsical, jazzy noodling initially before the dark vocals emerge from the haze. While arguably the most experimental, it is the least enjoyable for me, and a rather unfortunate way to end an otherwise remarkable album from a talented and experienced company.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars This one really surprised me. A lot. 'A Scarcity of Miracles' is a beautiful extension of certain elements which have shaped the King Crimson sound over the years, particularly drawing from the more ambient tones of the 80's and 90's period, and none of the claustrophobic Oystersoupkitchen buffoonery of more recent(ish) times. Credited to guitarists Jakko Jakszyk, Robert Fripp and sax virtuoso Mel Collins, with the superb rhythm duo of PORCUPINE TREE's drummer Gavin Harrison (who also appeared in the early 80's on 'Neil's Heavy Concept Album' and the touring band of RENAISSANCE, promoting their 'Time Line' release, of note) and the Chapman Stick/Bass-monster Tony Levin. Much of the music here is very serene and intelligent, the mellow tone of Jakszyk's voice really capturing and adding to the mood of the music. Fans of NO-MAN's 'Schoolyard Ghosts' album should fall for this album. Instrumentally, I think it's Collins' smooth-as-silk sax work which towers above the rest, twirling and fluttering its way in and around the mid-paced grooves like an attractive butterfly in flight - at times unpredictable, yet captivating. This outing is clearly not about challenging the listener with angular riffs and off-the-cuff structures, but more like an invitation to join in on a mysterious dream-like journey and forget about life for a while. The work of Fripp is still distinctive, yet subtle, and not overpowering as it can be - there's lots of 'breathing space' within the songs. The gatefold LP edition features only a portion of the full cover art but looks great, and the vinyl sounds just as good as any CD. Most tracks are lengthy, with the title-cut and 'This House' being a pure bliss-fest, and the most dramatic piece being 'The Other Man', where the supportive Levin/Harrison pair shine. The hardest track to absorb is the just over 9min 'The Light of Day', the most experimental of the lot, relying heavily on multi-stacked vocal parts with weird melodies and guitar/sax interjections. 'The Price We Pay' and 'Secrets' also being great tracks. An easy 4 star album, not an instant classic, but almost.
Review by admireArt
5 stars Remember everything then just forget it all!

Imagine; that as all kingdoms fall, you find yourself in what was known as one of the "greatest" kingdoms of Pog, now burnt to ashes and with no name (after the Power to Believe's spiritual implosion!).... so the court reconstructs itself again as always.

Well known among anyone, friend or foe, the "King" (Robert Fripp) can re-construct this "kingdom" into any shape he envisions from scratch, as he has done more than once, with always daring and almost always excellent results.

This un-King Crimson titled project goes by the main-name of this time King Crimson courtmen : Jakko Jakszyk guitar, keyboards and voice, the always energized Mel Collins sax sound (which sets a whole new "old/modern" King Crimson tone), and of course the King himself Robert Fripp launching his guitar "soundscapes", "frippertronics" and genius, to the whole architecture. Holding these structures, long time accomplice inside the court and outside it Tony Levin master magician bass player and the new blood of Gavin Harrisonsīs clean and tight drumming style.

Result, If a hard core King Crimson fan from the beginning? Nothing better could have happened to the Kingdom. If new-comer? Wow! you got it easy my friend, here everything is bold as new. The usual great songwriting, with very mature and compromised musicians/artists, re-starting a "legend" which has re-incarnated more than once, for the benefit of us Prog enthusiasts.

KING CRIMSON a "Scarcity of Miracles" is something between a "Lizard" and " Larks's Tongue.." electro-acoustics with the heavy chords and depths of the later "Power to Believe", tainted with ephemeral splashes of the wild-experimentation tones of "X".

Really, it all seems and feels like new, even, in the very wide KC's mutable musical language. Everything has to do with the more "up-front" sax melody lines moving alongside the vocals and as a massive backdrop a myriad of "soundscapes/frippertronics" structures ("November Suite"/"Radiophonic"- like) wrapped tightly by the perfect drum/bass unit. Its music composition, of course, is close to Robert Fripp's last efforts with also wind player and composer Theo Travis.

Good musicianship if always polished and renewed but never spoiled, by definition, creates great results. If done with vision, excellence!

*****5 full PA stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Scarcely miraculous, but pretty good

A Scarcity Of Miracles is not strictly speaking a King Crimson album but a "King Crimson project" (or ProjeKct as they insist on calling it) by Jakko Jakszyk, Robert Fripp, and Mel Collins. All three men are strongly associated with King Crimson and at the time of writing they are among the current members of that band. Jakszyk and Collins also previously played together in the 21st Century Schizoid Band, an excellent King Crimson alumni group which also featured founding Crimson members Ian McDonald and Michael Giles as well as other ex-Crimson members in Peter Giles (and later on Ian Wallace). The line-up on the present outing is completed by Tony Levin on bass and Chapman stick and Gavin Harrison on drums.

Not releasing this as a King Crimson album was probably wise given that the style of the music is more mellow and laid back than much of King Crimson's music. Fripp's soundscapes, Collins' saxophones, Jakszyk's lead vocals create a rather tranquil atmosphere and there is almost nothing heavy or aggressive about this music. Nonetheless one can hear the affinities with the calmer and less aggressive sides of King Crimson. Jakszyk probably had a strong influence on this music as I can hear similarities in style with his solo album The Bruised Romantic Glee Club - an album to which both Collins and Fripp as well as Gavin Harrison also contributed (together with Ian McDonald and Ian Walace and many others).

Personally, I find A Scarcity Of Miracles a very pleasant listen and I actually enjoy it more than anything that King Crimson proper has put out since 1974's Red. (But then again I have never been a fan of 80's, 90's, or 2000's King Crimson.) However, even if it starts out great with the opening title track it does not keep the same quality throughout. The album is thankfully not very long, but still it tends to get a bit samey towards the end. It would have benefited from a couple of tracks in a different, perhaps less mellow style, but I suppose we have to wait for that until a new King Crimson album is released. The fact that Collins and Jakszyk are now part of King Crimson is promising for the future.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars King Crimson reformed for a brief tour in 2008, and I took the opportunity to go see one of the Chicago shows. The lineup consisted of Fripp, Belew, Levin (Gunn and the band had agreed to part ways), Mastellotto, and an additional drummer in Pat Harrison, who had made his bones as the drummer for the prog band Porcupine Tree. I had hoped that the band had come out of hibernation with some new material that they wanted to try out on the road, but the show, while very enjoyable, was distressingly conservative. The band primarily relied on its 80s material (as well as a sprinkling of material from the 90s onward), with a couple of nods to long ago in "Red" and "The Talking Drum"/"Larks 2," and there was no new material at all. I somewhat got the sense that the band was touring primarily for the purpose of getting its feet wet and to see if it could find a creative spark that would make it want to go through the process of creating new material. Well, the tour ended and the band once more dissolved, and I wondered, given the age of the various members, if anything of note would ever come from them again.

A few years later, an interesting collaboration emerged which ultimately grew into this not-quite-but-kinda- sorta-King-Crimson album. While the Fripp/Belew/etc lineup had made a point of avoiding material from the earliest incarnations of King Crimson, another group had sprung up to fill the niche. 21st Century Schizoid Band emerged in 2002 with a lineup of the brothers Giles (Michael on drums, Peter on bass), Ian McDonald (yup, that one) on woodwinds, Mel Collins (yup, that one) on his own set of woodwinds, and a guitarist/vocalist by the name of Jakko Jakszyk. While this band only lasted for a couple of years, it essentially made Jakszyk an honorary alumnus of King Crimson, and through this and other connections he ended up striking up a friendship with Robert Fripp. In 2010, Jakszyk and Fripp got together to record a bunch of semi-ambient noodlings based around guitar, keyboards and Fripp's soundscapes, and Jakszyk decided to adapt them into songs. Collins decided that he wanted to add some saxophone parts, and eventually the trio was able to get Levin and Harrison to serve as the album's rhythm section.

As a collection of songs, this album isn't especially impressive; it didn't surprise me to learn that these pieces were retro-fitted into songs only after the fact, and in those stretches where the material becomes more tune- centric, it rarely reaches a level much beyond decent. The material is also often very sleepy and subdued on top of not being especially memorable, and neither Levin nor Harrison do much on the whole to try and liven things up. Despite these downsides, though, I find that the atmosphere is usually interesting enough to compensate for the shortage of memorability and surprising length of the tracks (the album is 42 minutes long over the course of only 6 tracks). I find it very interesting that, despite the album not fully committing itself to an ambient approach (which would have geared it 100% towards establishing interesting atmosphere, as opposed to the 50/50 approach of this album), and thus making me have to face it as a song-based album without many distinct ideas and with those ideas stretched out over long periods of time, I don't find myself losing patience with the material. I find this especially fascinating in the closing track, "The Light of Day," where the band bathes in soundscapes and quiet guitar/sax noodling (with bits of vocals here and there) for nine minutes without going anywhere discernable, but where I also find myself feeling a little surprised that it lasted nine minutes and a little sad that it couldn't go longer. The final guitar/keyboard textures of this track are especially fantastic.

Another track that I find myself drawn to for similar reasons is "Secrets." It gets a little silly when it gets into old man slow prog boogie mode in the middle, but the droning passages at the beginning, with Jakko singing, "I don't sense the time is passing ..." and the like, with Collins occasionally punctuating the low-pitched growling soundscapes, are just beautiful. Along similar lines, "This House" starts as wordless vocal harmonies over more soundscapes, and it morphs into having some very lovely parts (with a lot of alternating gentle guitar passages) that never quite congeal together but that circle around each other in a way that sounds just fine.

The other three tracks are a little more explicit in trying to be song-based, but I can't help but think that they sound like inferior versions of similar material done with Belew on vocals in the 90s and 00s. Yes, the presence of Collins adds a new element that hadn't been present in the Belew era, but it's not like Jakszyk sounds tremendously different from Belew as a singer, and the songs only really take off in the parts where the vocals go away for an extended period of time. The opening title track is a slow ballad, "The Price We Pay" is mid- tempo with poppy bits, and "The Other Man" has elements of being a noisy menacing rocker, but all of them kinda bore me until they get the parts that were probably from the original sessions that spawned the album. Fripp and Jakszyk show great chemistry in these, with Fripp mostly sitting back and providing a backdrop but sporadically emerging to play in a more typical manner, and there are some marvelous moments to be found on here. It's too bad that they're buried in songs that are otherwise just ok.

It's probably for the best that this wasn't officially called a King Crimson album; an actual King Crimson album would have contained input from all involved parties from the beginning, as opposed to this album's process of putting together the album one layer at a time. As a side ProjeKct, though, this is perfectly reasonable, and the presence of fresh creative blood is certainly welcome. It didn't lead to an immediate tour or reforming of the band (and in fact Fripp briefly officially retired from the music industry a year later), but it did lay the groundwork for a great live tour three years later, and if nothing else this project should get credit for that.

Review by Mirakaze
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
1 stars Robert Fripp's idea since the 1980s seems to have been to marry the King Crimson essence with the modern sound of the times. In the 80s this was American-style new wave, in the 90s and early 2000s this was alternative metal, and on this album Fripp for some reason seems determined to tackle the most lethargic variation of so-called "whine rock". The compositions are unbearably dreary and banal, and the singing and instrumental performances are at best unremarkable. Mel Collins's saxophone playing is a welcome distraction at first but soon gets repetitive and irritating. As far as I'm concerned this ProjeKct bears no resemblance to anything King Crimson. Of course I can't say that this isn't King Crimson because there's only one person in the world who can make that judgement, but I will say that this is easily the least interesting direction Fripp has ever steered the band in, and I'm grateful he never wasted his time trying to make anything else in this style.

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