Hot Cars Warp
hris Corsano is already getting itchy feet. After only just starting to get his proper due as one of the UK’s hardest hitting improvisational drummers, this, his second solo CD-R on his own Hot Cars Warp imprint, sees him ignoring his bag of percussive tricks altogether. The list of equipment reads simply, “keyboard, mic.” Coming only a few months after his incredible, percussive debut The Young Cricketer, this is hopefully the start of a steady release schedule.
Blood Pressure is the sound of Corsano feeling his way into more directly melodic and experimental areas. He’s no stranger to using the drums in that capacity, but this album represents the added challenge of using a whole new palette. From the viewpoint of a fan of his drumming, it’s interesting to hear the leaps/decisions that these limits bring to his music. Unsurprisingly, rhythm still plays a part here, most prominently surfacing in the hardcore beat on “Swears” and the loosened-up, good-humoured gabba of “Pulse Pressure.” But it isn’t a major feature of the record; Blood Pressure is about the rough feeling out of sounds and the solid simplicity of the songs. Recorded over just two days, Corsano’s either intuitively gifted or a great editor. Everything here stands up to repeated listens.
Only the opener “The Cheer Up” even hints at a less-than-perfect assault on already well-mapped territories. Corsano’s ferocious screams into a crashed mic are buoyed by a cheap-arse, threadbare Matsui™ rhythm, adding a much-needed sense of levity. “Systolic” might bear more than a passing resemblance to a muggy stylophone demo, but it actually sews itself together into a much more complex web. Corsano tries different runs of melodies in an almost free-horn playing style, returning to the source notes after brief probing runs. As the song evolves, he’s audibly more confident, trying quicker sorties and skirting structure by the skin of his molars.
The sequencing makes for some remarkable moments, too. The contrast of “Sweeps”’s X tablet rushes buried in fuzz lapping against “Sweets”’s pretty mandala bleeps is genius. As gorgeously low-key as the latter is, “Swedes” goes one better. The melody surrounds a single drone, slipping away before the note expands to burst its borders.
This is a one of those releases that perfectly demonstrates the CD-R’s role as a documentary-style format. It’s enabled Corsano to record and release an experiment that might’ve never seen the light of day otherwise. Who would’ve taken a chance on a drum-less record from a percussion master with only one previous solo release to his name? Now, because Blood Pressure has been released, we have to rethink his place in the improv world as just a free drumming whiz kid. His next direction is anyone’s guess.