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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.57 | 578 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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