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Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins

Scarcity of Miracles

Review by Gary Hill

This is billed as one of the King Crimson spin-off groupings and since Mel Collins and Robert Fripp are both included, that makes sense. This is very Crimson-like in a lot of ways, but there is also more of a melodic progressive rock accessibility here and it wanders into jazz-like territory at times, too. All in all, this is a great album. Don’t take it as a King Crimson disc, but as a Crimson-related disc and you’ll find it to be very enjoyable.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Scarcity of Miracles

Some killer atmospheric sounds bring this in and it grows up gradually from there. After a minute and a half or so it settles into a more “song-like” movement and begins to feel like smooth jazz. Vocals come in over the top of that motif as the track continues. There are some bursts of horns along the lines of something from early King Crimson and we get some decidedly Crimson-like playing from Fripp at points.

The Price We Pay
Asian sounds start this and then it settles into gentle and sedate music from there. The vocals come over with a really stripped down approach that feels a lot like early King Crimson. After a time it works out into a more rocking approach that has a lot of melodic progressive rock along with some more modern King Crimson sounds in the mix. They take this through some satisfying changes through more decidedly Crimson-like territory and more jazzy areas.
Secrets
This comes in mellow and stays that way for a long time, with a killer mellow jazzy groove creating the main musical element that holds this and guides it. It’s got a great texture and sound to it. Then, a little before the four-minute mark it powers out to a more rocking groove that’s very cool and tasty. The bass line later in the track is killer.
This House
Layers of processed vocals weave a tapestry as Fripps guitar accompanies in sheets of sound. The horn joins after a while and the track continues to grow. Then around the two minute mark it becomes more ballad-like and the first lyrical vocals appear. As this builds in intensity, more and more layers of vocals are added creating drama and majesty. It works towards killer jazz stylings merged with King Crimson elements.
The Other Man
Mellow jazz elements open this piece and it builds outward gradually from there. Then it pounds out to a sound that makes me think of The Buggles merged with King Crimson. After a while like that, though, this works to the most decidedly Crimson-like jam of the piece. The bass really drives it and it’s quite tasty. It explodes into a powerful Crimsonian jam from there. This seems to combine old school and modern King Crimson sounds.
Light of Day
Mellow, but oh so tastefully odd, this is very much a sedate freeform jam that’s quite King Crimson oriented. Although this remains min mellow modes, it works through a number of varying sections. The vocal line becomes quite involved and intriguing, too. This is exceptional cool strangeness. It is really a dynamic piece, working through quite a few changes and alterations along the road. It manages to get noisy at times, but still remain atmospheric.
 
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