posted April 29th, 2024

Drummer Chris Corsano is a tireless collaborator. Among the 150 or so albums that he’s contributed to over the past 25 years, only six have been credited to Chris alone — which makes the existence of The Key (Became The Important Thing [& Then Just Faded Away]), out June 28 via Drag City, a rare instance of Chris going deep on his own vision. A feverish essay of transcendent drumming, Corsano’s ambitious new record brings his encompassing focus on free improvisation and noise into a granular fusion with acoustic experiments and ideations of hard rock riffing and post-punk sound. With today’s revelation is the album’s first track/video: “I Don’t Have Missions”.

In Chris Corsano’s collaborations over time — Paul Flaherty, Joe McPhee, Dredd Foole, Michael Flower, Paul Dunmall, Bill Orcutt, Nate Wooley, Mette Rasmussen, C. Spencer Yeh, Ben Chasny & Sir Richard Bishop (as individuals and together as Rangda), Bill Nace, Wally Shoup, Evan Parker and dozens of other players — it’s clear the vibe may get intense/heavy/OUT. Accessing this place, in itself, is an incredible calling; but on The Key (Became The Important Thing [& Then Just Faded Away]), the intensity radiates entirely from inside Chris’s process, in conversation with himself. He’s involved in every aspect of the process here: making his own string-drums to anchor each performance with and tapping into multiple instruments for some Corsano-on-Corsano overdubbing. Not to mention mixing the record. And hell, painting the record.

The lead single, “I Don’t Have Missions”, burns through the atmosphere with a kaleidoscopic music video painted by (drumroll!) Chris Corsano and animated by Kim Alpert. A heat-seeking missile, Corsano’s martial kit work here — attenuated with febrile, wide-ranging guitar & bass arrangements — targets an intersection of hard rock, free jazz and improvised music. The beat sources from Chris’s string drum process: a silicone string stretched across a snare with a bridge, resonating a bass note when struck. This foundation implied possibilities for full band arrangements, which Chris was compelled to respond to himself across his new album; his guitar playing on “I Don’t Have Missions” reveals a semi-unconscious attempt to Frankenstein together the influences of several of his six-string collaborators, locating a new staggering space in Chris’s music.

The process of exploration and discovery uniquely informed and shaped The Key (Became The Important Thing [& Then Just Faded Away]). All the results on the tape, when listened back, found a higher order, transcending sequences of experimentation and technique — becoming much more than the sum of an internal conversation, standing together as a set of insistently compelling pieces of a whole. They became a record. They unlocked something in Chris Corsano, and us too. On June 28, it’s your turn…

Chris Corsano 2024 Solo Dates
(Full tour dates available HERE)

5/19 - Cairo, Egypt @ Cairo Jazz Club ^
5/20 - London, UK @ Cafe OTO *
5/21 - London, UK @ Cafe OTO *
5/22 - Manchester, UK @ The White Hotel *
5/23 - Bristol, UK @ Cube Cinema *
5/24 - Shrewsbury, UK @ English Bridge Workshop *
5/25 - Glasgow, UK @ Flying Duck *
5/26 - Newcastle, UK @ Lubber Fiend *
5/27 - Leeds, UK @ Wharf Chambers *
5/28 - Nottingham, UK @ The Chapel *
5/29 - Lewes, UK @ Con Club *
5/30 - Exeter, UK @ The Cavern *

^ Solo and w/ Alan Bishop
* Opening for Earth Ball

Artists in this story: Chris Corsano