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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.53 | 629 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

m2thek | 2/5 |


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