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When Trash And Crash Are Not Enough

 

by T. Bruce Wittet

 

KEY NOTES

  • Good blend of exotic wash and clean articulation
  • Wide stylistic applications,including acoustic jazz
  • 22" ride is “odd man out” in this family
  • Hats lack chick sound when played with foot

 

Catch Stanton Moore behind the drums and you'll notice two things. The first  is the raucous and loose New Orleans feel, which Stanton comes by honestly,  having cut his musical teeth in the Crescent City. The second thing that's  apparent is contrast. You're apt to hear an 18" kick alternating with a 26"  vintage bomber, both barking from the same drumset. You'll also hear cymbal  sounds that vary from articulate to splashy.

 

Enter the new Bosphorus Stanton Moore line, a series designed in extensive  collaboration with Stanton. The series consists of five different models that  have spent several years in the prototype stage. Bosphorus is a bit of an  oddity. It's a Turkish company making cymbals by hand, but driven by American  drummers (including jazz great Jeff Hamilton). When the Old World pairs with the  New, possibilities abound. That was our expectation when Bosphorus sent a pair  of 14" Fat Hats, 20" and 22" Wide Rides, a 20" Pang Thang, and a 20" Trash crash  for review. Perhaps more to the point, the cymbals ought to fit into Stanton's  dynamic, slap-happy style of drumming—which owes much to retro sounds—yet hold  their place through a big PA rig.

 

First Glancing Blows

At first glance, the Stanton Moore cymbals appeared quite faithful to their  forefathers. The basic hammering on the cymbals matched up perfectly with that  of a mid-1970s Turkish K in my possession, as did the lathing—at least the top  lathing. Here we find reasonably tight grooves that encircle the cymbal and  follow slightly irregular paths. The bottom of each cymbal, however, seems to  have been lathed just enough to remove excess material, leaving narrow, uneven  bands of raw metal showing through. I checked this with Bosphorus CEO Michael  Vosbein, who responded that a wider chisel is used for the bottom. At any rate,  the idea is that the top of the cymbal is richer in harmonics than the bottom,  which exercises a muting or gating effect.

 

14" Fat Hats

The Fat Hats were thin and flexible (top and bottom), with the bottom cymbal  barely a third above the top in pitch. They mated well and produced a nice,  sustaining sizzle when the two plates were barely touching. In my mind's eye I  could see Stanton wailing on these.

 

When I took the hats out of the testing room and onto a gig, I was concerned  that the chick sound was not pronounced enough (which is something to be  expected of thin cymbals). But taken in the context of Stanton's style, which is  more about stick work and open/closed effects, the Fat Hats performed  exceptionally well. Maybe the chick sound was a little wanting, but I could be  happy using these in a range of gigs from loud to very soft.

 

Wide Rides

The 20" Wide Ride was a killer. Stanton originally intended it as a left-side  crash/ride, but he's recently been positioning it on his right. Whatever the  configuration, this cymbal produced an articulate sound from a range of sticks.  With a 5B, the cymbal was awash in rich overtones but not overshadowed by them.  I had to work a little to control the swell, but I didn't mind because the  frequencies coming up were so balanced and warm. On a gig, these were swallowed  up; in the test room, I "cheated" by affixing a two-inch piece of duct tape to  the underside. I'd use this cymbal as my first ride in an acoustic situation.

 

bosphorus\_cymbals.jpg

The 22" Wide Ride surprised me. I guess I expected a larger version of the  20". (After all, it shares the same "wide" designation.) But the bell displayed  less hammering, the profile was lower, and the playing response was more direct.  Even the feel was a little stiffer.

 

The reasons for these disparities dawned on me after playing the cymbal for a  while. Stanton's thing is about contrast, right? Here we have an extremely  articulate ride cymbal that can project, but that's not overly heavy. Owing to  its low profile, it generates low-frequency undertones that tie it nicely into  the ensemble. "Push crashes" (short accents played with the shank of the stick)  jump out and then rear back.

 

When I played this ride with mallets, it resisted crashing ever so slightly.  Perhaps this was due to the muting effect of the underside lathing. But with a  little playing effort the sound grew into a hearty roar.

 

20" Pang Thang

The 20" Pang Thang was another favorite. It resembled traditional pang-style  cymbals, owing to its thin overall design and 2" flattened edge. But it was more  full-bodied than most China-type cymbals. I daresay that some drummers out there  would find this the ideal jazz ride: The high profile made the stick work  audible in frequency and crystal clear in impact, while stick-shank accents  across the bow were swallowed up almost instantaneously. Finally, the flat edges  presented another brash playing surface.

 

20" Trash Crash

The 20" Trash Crash was a party animal. Ostensibly another high-profile,  China-style cymbal, the Trash Crash features ten hammer clusters—like craters on  the moon—evenly spaced around the circumference. Each cluster consists of  roughly fifteen separate hammer peen marks, made after the basic hammering was  completed.

 

Those clusters mess with the sonic integrity of the cymbal something fierce!  While traveling across those peaks and into those valleys, I located all sorts  of disparate overtones and sweet spots for riding. (Curiously, this crash cymbal  was marked "ride" on the bottom.) A strong, crashing blow generated a fat,  throaty roar. Like the Pang Thang, the Trash Crash is emphatically not your  basic "gunshot" China punctuation cymbal. Mount it right side up!

 

Conclusion

The Stanton Moore series is a versatile group of cymbals that lean toward the  trashy end of the spectrum. The old jazz drummers' adage that "Every cymbal  should be a ride and a crash" applies to each of these babies. Their sonic  potential is limited only by your imagination, stick placement, and the  inescapable exotic timbres. If you need ultra-distinct 8th-note rides and shrill  crashes, then these aren't for you. But if you don't mind breaking a few rules  and muddying the waters, you'll come up with some real dirt here—grade-A  topsoil, if you ask me.

 

THE NUMBERS

  • 14" Fat Hats $495
  • 20" Wide Ride $495
  • 22" Wide Ride $545
  • 20" Pang Thang $575
  • 20" Trash Crash $575

 

(770) 205-0552, www.bosphoruscymbals.com

©  2006 MODERN DRUMMER Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction  without the permission of the publisher is prohibited.
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