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

JAKSZYK, FRIPP AND COLLINS: A SCARCITY OF MIRACLES

King Crimson

Eclectic Prog


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2 stars A DGM promo c.

Well we have been waiting for 8 years for a new work of King Crimson (or their projekcts)

Very much less than I expected for a KC work.

For an usual album of David Sylvian (this one seems one ) ,this act as an experimental post rock or RIO acoustic kind album is Ok.. !!!.But for a very awaited King Crimson project.¡¡¡¡

Sorry very dissatisfy .

Is Adrian Belew so important?

It seems that yes.

Is disappointing to listen to Robert Fripp and Tony Levin not developing all of their skills.

Please more power ...Only in "The Other Man" song some KC real music .

For a KC work 2 stars.

Report this review (#455675)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm sitting here listening to this album for the forth time in a row. I for one think that this is a great incarnation of King Crimson. I was skeptical at first as to what KC would do without the frontman that was with them for so many years -Belew. However with that being said, I have to welcome this new lineup with open arms. The overall sound of the album is much more earthy than they have done in a long time - maybe even the earthiest they've ever gotten. Quite a departure from their earlier style, while still having those characteristics that make it undeniably Crimson. I will review this album track by track.

A SCARCITY OF MIRACLES This is the title track of the album, and for good reason. The beautiful, ethereal intro, with both guitars and stick creating a delicate background, while the unmistakable tone of Collins' soprano sax floating over all of it sends chills up the listener's spine. The very "in the pocket", rhythmic groove of Levin and Harrison is the true backbone of this, and Jakszyk's pop vocal melodies bring the song to a new level. I really enjoy his voice, he has a great deal of emotion, and his phrasing is dead on. He actually sounds a lot like Adrian Belew, albeit more pop leanings. The lyrics in this song really stick out and paint a picture for the listener, and the coda near the end of the tune is in 7/8 - classic king crimson style.

5/5

"The Price We Pay" This one starts off probably the most different I have ever heard King Crimson. Gu Zheng.. interesting instrument. Another spacey intro here, more melodic than the one of Scarcity though. This tune is also a lot more upbeat than the rest of the tracks. I really like the guitar riffing, for some reason it kind of reminds me slightly of the 80's incarnation. I don't think I need to even comment on Collins' playing on this song, just hear it for yourself, it's amazing. That's what I like about this album the most is that everything fits perfectly where it belongs. Vocal harmonies are a real treat.

5/5

"Secrets" Now, it may be just because I'm a bass player, but I have to comment on Levin's playing on this one. This is probably his best on the album, his use of chords is just so tasteful. He's definitely one of my biggest influences playing-wise, he never, ever does too much. Tasty groove here. The main horn/guitar line is great and really KC. I don't know what it is but at around the 5 minute mark when Jakszyk sings the line "I'm underwater with the bends", it really gives me chills. Such a great line, and something about the way he sings it.

5/5

"This House" This tune has some pretty soaring vocal melodies at the first few minutes of it and some really strange sounds. The vocals at the start are really kind of Jazz Fusiony, and Collins' has some real tasty lines in there as well. This is a great song, however my one criticism is that it can feel a little bit long at points. It is a very sparse piece and has a lot of interesting things going on in the mix. Could have been cut a little shorter however.

4/5

"The Other Man" Probably the most experimental song on the album, with a great deal of that classic KC style in there. The song also gets fairly heavy about halfway through (in comparison to the rest of the album, that is). You can really hear the angry, almost tormented tone in Jakszyk's voice as he sings "the other man, the other man, the other man" repeatedly. Another example of some really great vocal harmonies, and great rhythm section here. I think however that they may have done better on the ending of the track, as I feel it just stops without any real resolution.

4.5/5

"The Light of Day" Now we're at the final track of the album, also the longest. Okay, I'll have to admit that this is album a very experimental piece as well. Quite possibly some of the best guitar playing I've heard in KC for a while. Real jazzy noodling going on between both Jakszyk and Fripp here. Great atmosphere within this piece, also a little too long though. I will also have to say that while it is a great song, as an album closer I think they could have chosen a more upbeat or more "together" tune. Still very interesting though, and I do like the little crescendo at the end too.

4/5

So overall, I do really love this album. I like how KC decided to take an unexpected turn with their sound, much like they did in the good 'ol days. I have also noticed that they seem to have taken a "Three of a Perfect Pair" type of approach, by making the first half of the album much more accessible than the second half. As an album I do wish there was a bit more material included in the package, with it only running about 42 minutes long altogether, they could have probably got another track on there somewhere, maybe a more suiting closer.

Another criticism I have of the album as a whole is that they may have over-used the spacey intro thing a bit, while it still suits all the songs, it kind of sticks out to me for some reason.

In closing, I really hope we hear another album out of this incarnation of King Crimson, as I am a big fan of the type of sound they are going for. It is like a perfect combination of the poppier sound of the 80's, with the jazzier sound of the early 70's. I will have to award the album a 4/5 as some fans may not be happy with the direction that King Crimson has gone with this, as it's definitely not for everyone, but I will personally say that I welcome this light-hearted change with open arms, and hope to see more of it!

Report this review (#455820)
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Miracles can happen?

Introduction

Almost summer 2011: the air is warming, lenght of days increasing, King Crimson new album, vacation are ne... what? KC released new album, finally! It was almost ten years since last effort (2003), so Fripp at least comes out with another album from the lege.... Uhm isn't KC work? Really? Oh a Projekct? Which's already? Fifth? Oh right seventh! And who he hired this time, another of his crafty guitarists or just it's another rework of the band as before? Let's see it.

Main Theme

As said ironically in the introduction this isn't supposed to be a King Crimson album, yes the name KC means litterally Robert Fripp and for those who don't know the beginning of the story almost means Belew, but there isn't Mr Belew at the guitar, nor any trace of the eclectic sound of later Crimson's albums, many can argue that KC weren't used to sound like this work even in the early albums but if you listen to the frippertron...*ehm* to the soundscapes you'll find the exact match of Islands, add the lonely guitar from the Crimson King crying and Collins' sax at his best, making the role of lead instrument. After a pair of spin these few tracks reveal the two great hidden sides: Levin and Harrison. While the first is well known to be one of the best at bass and stick and he sure doesn't disappoint his fans bringing some of the best movements since a decade, Harrison is maybe the best drummer that can take the palce of someone like Bruford in the court, nice work in keeping an ambient profile that join togheter with bass and sax with some nice improvements since his previous works (PT's Fear of a Blank Planet especially). Last but not least the voice from Jakszyk: the guy is really a nice surprise, clean voice that fit perfeclty in the mood of this Projekct (the first with vocals).

Coda

Awesome work, that's it. For those who think this to be another KC album I fear they will need to wait the next time: even if complex and structured as a KC album it's not: and even the sleeve say so since the authors are Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins, but don't be afraid of the Jazzy release, it works perfectly and after few spins I cannot put it down. If you are looking for other improvvisations (like X, Masque or Space Groove), you will get some nice parts of good music, too bad no deep analysis like Live at the Jazz Cafe, just written-before work. Since this is the come back of old courtiers and the first real work between Harrison and Fripp I was skeptical, but this 42 min work worth alone all these years of waiting for something new... 5 stars!

Report this review (#456349)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
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 sweeping...er....well 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.

Report this review (#457702)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Scarcity Of Miracles is given extra kudos in that it has been given the tag line "A King Crimson ProjecKt" owing to its numerous connections to the KC family tree. Aside from that it has its own drawing power simply through the respect its five contributors command within the world of modern progressive rock.

Long awaited by many including this writer, the arrival of this album will disappoint those expecting a loud KC type improv thang, but most folk I would hope have approached this with no preconceptions. My first impressions are of a late summer evening's contemplative listen. Fully formed songs have arisen out of dreamy soundscapes lent a warm glow by Mel Collins' mellifluous sax playing. The lyrics, which one assumes are probably mainly the work of Jakko Jakszyk and possibly Tony Levin hint at loss and regret and decay and dark nights of the soul, but the organic and emotionally warm music means it never gets depressing. Judging by the numerous meteorological references I can only surmise that the main lyricist must live here in the UK!

Instrumentally, no-one gets to go off on a tangent and the whole thing is, well, lovely, and definitely the sum of its parts rather than a showcase for individual indulgence. The Price We Pay features Jakko's Gu Zheng which is really the only instrumentation one could describe as exotic, to Western ears at least. Tony Levin's trusty bass and Chapman Stick underpin everything with a sonic hug. Gavin Harrison's drumming is down in the mix, and a bit like a good referee in a football match he never intentionally plays a starring role. This man is a perfect example of the drummers' most prized skill, that of "less is more". The Other Man has a Japan-like quality, Levin sounding like Mick Karn, then Fripp enters with a brief burst of traditional Frippisms, but quietly. Certainly the most complex song on the album, Collins' sax then weaves in and out of a shifting time signature, Fripp and Jakko joining in. At just under six minutes, it ain't long enough! In fact my only small gripe is that at 43 minutes the album feels like it should be about ten minutes longer.

A bit like a good claret, this album has to be given the attention it deserves in order to be fully savoured and appreciated, and it will leave you well satisfied after consumption. One of the best albums of the year so far in my humble opinion.

For less than £2 more than the standard cd issue, get the dvd/cd issue which as well as the standard cd features a great sounding 5:1 surround sound mix, and alternate takes of most of the songs, two impovs from Fripp/Jakszyk and the video for the title track.

Report this review (#457952)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first introduction to this album was the inexplicably atrocious video that accompanied the title track to promote the album before its release. Fortunately I was able to get past that experience and attempt to actually enjoy the music beyond it.

Let me start by saying the best way to appreciate this album is to throw out any & all expectations you have of a project (ProjeKct, in this case I suppose) that is in any way linked with the King Crimson 'family'. If you can do that (and it wasn't easy for me, either) what you'll find is an enjoyable prog/jazz album.

Jakszyk's vocals are captivating - I actually was not familiar with him prior to hearing this album, and I have to say I plan to check out his work with other artists as well. I found myself not caring that Belew was not utilized for this group (and I am a big fan of Belew's vocal/guitar work with KC over the years).

Gavin & T-Lev are a mesmerizing rhythmic pair. Although this album has a restrained feeling to it overall, there is no lack of groove between the two. Some of the more interesting musical moments of the album are the interplay between the rhythm section. I hope this isn't the last time we get to hear them work together in a KC format.

Fripp's role here is mainly atmospheric in terms of leads, but in rhythmic terms he is binding together Collins' work with that of Gavin & T-Lev. His presence is definitely on each track, but he isn't the true driving force here. And given the songs, I think this actually makes the album as a whole stronger.

I'm only familiar with Mel Collins from his work with KC in the mid-70s, and his playing here is pleasant, although in no way pushing boundaries. Nothing offensive about his approach to the songs, although I found myself many times wishing he would take more risks with his melodies....mostly he stays inside the box.

This is an album that is HIGHLY accessible for music fans in general, and not just progressive rock fans. Perhaps that is what they were aspiring to achieve -- if so, then they accomplished their goal. I enjoy the album very much. I don't think of it as a KC ProjeKct in any way, despite the musicians involved. It is really better to think of them as a jazz ensemble that has produced an album of very listenable tracks.

I've played the album for several friends already (none of whom are prog fans) and the reaction from all has been overwhelmingly positive. It may not be what we all wanted to hear, but this is an album that has the potential to connect with a very wide audience.

Report this review (#459113)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Well, if there is one band on this planet that truly can not be defined, it would be King Crimson and I'm surprised that anyone would be shocked by a change in direction, but sadly its mostly garbage.

Court of the Crimson King sounds nothing like Red which sounds nothing like Discipline which sounds nothing like the Power to Believe so exploration is really KC tradition. And really people should be happy to get anything at all considering that not only is Fripp totally unpredictable, but is also getting older.

This is as much a KC album as anything else, but regardless, I really do enjoy this album. Its so chill and mellow which is nice. Mel Collins really steals the show here and his playing is beautiful. The only complaint I have is with The Light of Day. For some reason, it is Fripp's prerogative to put at least one experimental, crazy and dissonant song on each KC album and I do not know why. This has been pissing me off for years now as it really kills the momentum on each album. This act accomplishes nothing but holding back the KC albums from perfection. Could you imagine if Close to the Edge or Images and Words had some random 8 minute song that just went no where and was improvised for the most part. It be devastating, but what ever. Scarcity is still a great album. Also The Other man goes nowhere.

The title track and the price we pay are decent songs, but that is where it ends. Secrets and this House are so-so and the last two songs are just utter, trite garbage.

I know a lot of people wanted a continuation from Power to Believe, but I feel like that album was close to perfection as far as that version of KC sound was concerned so to continue in that direction would risk redundancy, and A Scarcity of Miracles is really a breath of fresh air. Something new and different to enjoy and in the end I think that change is the at the heart of what King Crimson stands for.

One Final note to Robert Fripp, its time wake up to the 21st century and make the KC material available on Itunes. You are only hurting yourself by making it harder for me to give you money.

Report this review (#460833)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
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.

Report this review (#463027)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mysteriousness is felt. I'm unsure of my thoughts. My ears are open but they want to close. My mind wanders but yearns for order. My soul yet remains calm. This album is a journey through the spiritual realm. Order and Chaos are traveled.

After many listens over the past week I stumbled upon many emotions about this album. I'm still to study this music for a while. After all it is a projeKct. On the surface the music may be compared to many genres. Certain elements dominate from time to time. This album equal parts Jazz and Prog in essense but I feel it is much more than that. This album is truly spiritual and there is an incredible amount of control from the musicians for keeping it that way this whole projeKct.

I was impatient at first and was annoyed that every song seemed like it took an hour to "start". A wrong approach when listening to such an album. I fast fowarded through songs until I heard Gavin start keeping rhythm. Knowing what he is capable of doing I couldn't wait to hear what he was laying down. The amount of control he possesses is incredible. I would probably break from the tension. He is locked in the whole time. Tony Levin is incredible and that goes without saying. Mel Collins and Jakko Jakszyk keep it sexy. Fripp's soundscapes are on another level. I couldn't understand where he was coming from because I lacked the patience to listen. I felt distaste over all despite how sick the musicianship may have been. I would have initially reviewed this a 2 or 3.

After a week of listening the approach has differed. I look at each song individually now. Every song could be expanded into it's own album. The depth of the music is becoming clearer to me. Fripp really is on another level now. He is in the spiritual realm. His soundscapes create an aura for the band to feed on. He may have "stepped back" but I now feel he is what is keeping it all together. The tracks that stick out the most to me are The Other Man and The Light Of Day. There is an element of KC dissonance to them. These songs are from another world. The subtle complexities and fearless approach have me yearn for more of this. Where I initially skipped these tracks because I felt they went nowhere I now began to listen differently. This music is a continous journey and the path is clearer.

I highly recommend everyone listen to this album. I hope you listen to every track individually and experience them for themselves. Whether one thinks this music is great or rubbish you'll have to appreciate that they can go to this level. While it's not a perfect performance it is an excellent beginning and I hope more is to come from this ProjeKct.

4 stars.

Report this review (#463468)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I must say, the Adrian Bellew-era stuff has been running thin on me since the "Beat" album. As a fan of mostly the older material, I was excited about this release as soon as it was announced ... particularly since Mel Collins was returning ("Islands" and "Lizard" are my favorite Crim records). I must say, for me personally, this new album does not disappoint, and like all good Crimson records requires a few close listenings to understand what is going on. On the third listen, I think its phenomenal mid-tempo, jazzy, moody King Crimson, recalling "Formentera Lady", "Cadence and Cascade", "Moonchild", etc. Just buy it, listen to it in headphones and fall into the brilliant atmosphere it presents!
Report this review (#473068)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#476217)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
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.

Report this review (#480065)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
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.

Report this review (#483915)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
m2thek
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.

Report this review (#492080)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#550834)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
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.

Report this review (#587557)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm really surprised by how many people think that The Power to Believe, and The ConstruKction of Light were lesser albums. I really enjoyed them. But, I also see how one could be thrown by the sounds from A Scarcity of Miracles. This album takes a while for it to reveal itself to one. There are many hidden melodies, harmonies...etc... hidden in the song. This album takes at least three to five listens before you can really judge. I, myself did not like A Scarcity of Miracles because I was expecting another masterpiece like The Power to Believe, but instead, I got an album that faintly reminds me of Devin Townsend's Ghost.

The songs are not so much rhythmically complex, like on The ConstruKction of Light, but more harmonically complex. That's where I think the album's core is: In the harmonies, with the background noises, the ambient sounds and timbres. When you combine these, and listen...THAT'S where it all collides and you finally hear what A Scarcity of Miracles is about.

This album is in no way comparable to In The Court, or Red, or Lizard, but it is very refreshing to hear how King Crimson have, yet again, using their Eclectic properties, changed.

I liked this album, and I hope King Crimson, and Robert Fripp continue to put out new material until they're worn out.

4/5 Stars.

Report this review (#636530)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am listening to the album as I am writing this. I love the mix of element coming from all the different Crimson era . Collins saxes from Crimson 69/70, the vocal the best imo since John wetton with Crimson 72/74, fripp's guitar and the lanscape of sound as if the were recorded right after Red in 74 Tony Levin is Tony Levin nothing else to say he is the best and Gavin Harrisson is a true successor to the Bill Bruford legacy . This Cd could have been recorded in the 1975 . IMO it's the real succesor to Wetton/Bruford/Fripp/Cross/Muir era of Crimson...... sorry Adrian
Report this review (#646652)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
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.

Report this review (#701749)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
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.
Report this review (#749433)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars I know it's not King Crimson, and I know that everyone on the Team is old an tired, but this album was even worse than one would have expected from a King Crimson-related only, old and tired band.

Some of the Side A is OK, thanks to Gavin Harrison's refreshing presence, but nevertheless it lacks energy and musically is painfully bland.

I don't remember what they did on Side B, apart from some kind of a klutzy and emotionally detached a capella-ing, It didn't sound like KC, or like a good ProjeKCt, or indeed like anything that I would listen to at least twice.

And, frankly, the album art .. if was new and interesting when it was new and interesting, but you can't cut and paste the same comic strip characters from one album jacket to another for decades and expect them to retain the sense of freshness and originality. In other words, it feels like a teabag that has already been steeped twice.

To sum up: after the mediocre Power to Believe I was hoping that Fripp and what is left of KC would find enough energy and inspiration to make a decent swan song album. Apparently, this didn't come to pass.

Report this review (#769994)
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
admireArt
PROG REVIEWER
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 Harrisons´s 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.

Report this review (#890389)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
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.

Report this review (#1296812)
Posted Saturday, October 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
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.

Report this review (#1298088)
Posted Monday, October 27, 2014 | Review Permalink

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