Review Summary: While looming closer to retirement in 2011, Robert Fripp and his final King Crimson Projekct gracefully close shop with a fitting finale, A Scarcity of Miracles.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
The day would eventually come. It was both expected, yet unexpected. Last year, Robert Fripp had announced that he would be retiring from the music industry. After years of what we knew as "King Crimson", the Court has been left in what could be disarray, leaving the future of the band uncertain. But had that left without some last words? A year before, one of the most recent Crimson Projekcts, Jakszyk, Fripp, and Collins, released what appeared to be a faint cry of what the projekct was about. This album was called a Scarcity of Miracles. The name itself was necessary, as it could be the last studio album left by Fripp. And if anything, would be appropriate to state it almost as a graceful farewell.
Why should it be said so? King Crimson has had its fair share of disappointing albums, such as Construkction of the Light, which attempted to recreate a noisy 2nd lineup sound that originated from the 1970s and failed. Unlike most KC material released, A Scarcity of Miracles appears to display more an ambient rock mood, which is fresh and even sounds modernistic in positive manner. Continuing off this archetypical sound is the complexity, distortion, and the abrasiveness that seems to still live and thrive within the band. This shows in songs such as The Other Man, A Scarcity of Miracles, and Secrets, where you can hear the reminiscent sounds of distant past works like The Night Watch, Fracture, Providence, and Fallen Angel. This material that the projekct delivers is the type of music that really flourishes and grows into something wonderful. An advantage that really showcases a nice final movement.
The genre, sound, and colorful mood isn't the only brilliant shining light in this album. The team chemistry on A Scarcity of Miracles is also very important. It shows whether each of the members of this Crimson Projekct could pull it together. And for the most part, they did. While we don't necessarily have bombastic guitar solos, the screaming of an violin, or the grooviest basslines being stoked, there is still some stock of quality virtuosity. You still get the dissonant sound of Mel Collins' Alto/Tenor Sax, the scratchiness of Fripp's guitar, and the melodically beautiful keyboards from Jakko Jakszyk. To add in to that, Jakszyk also delivers some cool, deep, smooth vocals and Gavin Harrison tops it off with short lived "Michael Giles" moments. This still proves that Robert Fripp could make good final decisions to finish the long lived life of King Crimson.
Lastly, a question to consider: what is next for what remains of the KC and its possible last projekct? Who knows what the future provides for the pioneers of progressive rock. While the future of King Crimson is currently in limbo, A Scarcity of Miracles if anything, was an impressive stand for a group that had long gone for over 40 years until the river of creativity ran dry. Even if it was just a projekct, it could still be a fitting finale for the Court of the Crimson King.