Stick Men - Absalom
King Crimson are my second favorite band. Given how much I obsess over Maiden and all their members, it's safe to say that the level to which I do that for Krimson is just a small step behind. So it was only natural that this year I would check out the "King Crimson Projekct" of Jakszyk, Fripp, & Collins' A Scarcity of Miracles
- and it was only natural that I would be disappointed by it's merely decent quality.
That's where Absalom
comes into the picture. Stick Men are a prog rock project comprised of Tony Levin (tied with Adrian Belew for my favorite KC musician post-70s) on Chapman stick, Pat Mastelotto (also amazing) on Drums, and Markus Reuter (who?) on Touch Guitar. What you get is basically the continuation of the modern King Crimson sound (gtfo prog if you don't like The Power To Believe
), with more emphasis on the rhythm sections and low-end bass sounds. Chock full of bizarre time signatures and polymeter, constantly wandering melodies shaped by every instrument simultaneously, and sections of both dissonant and consonant beauty - Absalom
is the God of Prog's gift to the fan of modern King Crimson.
At only just barely over 30 minutes, and only 6 songs, Absalom
is sort of a small package. But its size is perfect, keeping you entertained the whole time - and honestly after listening to it it feels like it kept you interested just as much as most 70 minute albums do. The album knows not to overstep its boundaries, while making sure it gets the most out of what it does. The vocals on the non-instrumental tracks aren't anything special, but oddly appropriate for the parts they fill on an album mostly centered on instrumental passages. Absalom
very much achieves what it sets out to do - embodying a short yet fantastic 3-piece prog rock album.
"Time's Insane Ashes