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USA [40th Anniversary Edition] [Parental Advisory]
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: John Wetton (vocals); Robert Fripp (guitar, Mellotron); David Cross (violin, keyboards); Bill Bruford (percussion).
  • Recording information: The Record Plant, NYC (06/1974).
  • Photographers: Willie Christie; Riley Jackson; Joe Pizzo; David Zink.
  • As Robert Fripp had done with King Crimson's first live LP, Earthbound (1972), USA is a single-disc concert package documenting the quartet during its 1974 swing through North America. As with its predecessor, USA was also issued as a sonic cenotaph of the concurrently defunct Krim. So insistent that the band would not be resurrected, Fripp concluded the LP's liner notes at the time with another three-letter epitaph: "R.I.P." The 1973/1974 King Crimson included the collective efforts of Fripp (guitar/Mellotron), David Cross (violin), John Wetton (bass/vocals), and Bill Bruford (drums/percussion). USA also includes notable violin overdubs by Eddie Jobson on the tracks "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" and "21st Century Schizoid Man," as well as electric piano addendums to "Lament." The opening drone re-creates the typical performance prelude, lifted directly from the Fripp and Brian Eno sonic sculpture No Pussyfooting (1973). The brusque juxtaposition of the ethereal opening to the aggressive "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" jolts the audience into the rips and snorts found during this tautly rendered instrumental. The readings of "Lament" and "Exiles" demonstrate this band's overwhelming sonic sensibilities. They are able to contrast and incorporate thick, viscous melodies and rhythms with alternately underlying sensitive, as well as ultimately beautiful, musical responses. A majority of the release is taken from a performance on June 28, 1974, at the Casino in Asbury Park, New Jersey, with the notable exception of "21st Century Schizoid Man," which was recorded two nights later at the Palace Theater in Providence, Rhode Island. [Some reissues add versions of "Fracture" and "Starless" from the Casino show. Additional live recordings of the band can be found on the four-disc The Great Deceiver collection and Night Watch, as well as Live in Central Park, NYC '74 and Live in Mainz 1974 from the King Crimson Collectors' Club.] ~ Lindsay Planer
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