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7 June 2011

Chris Corsano - 'Another Dull Dawn' (Ultra Eczema)

Coincidence and circumstances places two Ultra Eczema LPs back-to-back here, this one being #71 in the label's run and showcasing Chris Corsano's personal, idiosyncratic brand of percussive noisemaking. These were recorded in Edinburgh when Chris was living there and seem to reflect the manic-depressive nature of Scottish temprement while reflecting the uniquely bleak weather of the region. For someone as powerful at pounding things, there's an equal amount of scraping and breath here. The 15 short pieces, all recorded in a wooly, murky manner, run the gamut from drumset freakout to toy gamelan (the beautiful 'Kittenish Gnawing pt 2' is a particularly highlight), with a lot of wind instrument mouthpieces, often modified with plastic pipes. There's a primitive, guttural feel t stuff like 'The Misread Altimeter', which is a searing, sharp wave of human breath often redlining into gutbucket territory, only with a skiffle-band aesthetic. The pieces flow; it's a really coherent statement of one man's energy, simultaneously referencing all the solo free drum classics by Milton Graves and Andrew Cyrille while also trying to stake out something new. The speedy drumset work is certainly remarkable - 'The Wreck' is a total explosion, and the full kit parts of the closing track ('The Chair Dustless in the Tiled Room') are practically blast beats. Said closing track swings between these energetic bursts and pot lid/gong melodies, which unfold into a really loose expression of rhythm. Eclectic, yes - expressive, even more so. This style of solo Corsano - also exhibited in his Cricketer album - seems to perfectly bridge the gap between the noise underground's focus on dense, textural material and his own passion for free jazz/improv. What's remarkable is how natural it feels, and how flowing and introspective it manages to be despite carving out an original, singular language. Though I think this maybe flew under the radar a bit (due to the limited nature of the pressing) this might be a high water mark for the genre, if the genre could be defined.

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