Only founded in the latter-half of 2010, Impression Cymbals landed almost fully-formed and already offers no less than 10 cymbal ranges, all of which are made in Turkey.
Even in a country with centuries of cymbal-making heritage to draw on, a brand doesn't just arrive from nowhere. Three of the four partners who own Impression have worked together for years. Erdogan Caliskan (hammersmith), Idris Yakici (lather) and Kadri Kayan (sales manager) are all veterans of a well-known Turkish cymbal company, having risen to prominent positions within it. After deciding to strike out on their own, they were joined by financier Ilhan Umut.
Impression is keen to stress that each cymbal from all of the 10 ranges is individually cast from B20 bronze and no other configuration of bronze is used. Aside from a rolling machine used to spread each fresh ingot into a flat disc, the manufacturing process of Impression cymbals is completed by hand, including all the hammering and lathing.
Sent for review are selections from the Rock and Jazz Series. The Rock cymbals are medium heavy, tightly lathed and have a brilliant finish while the Jazz models are significantly lighter, have busier hammering and deeper lathing. With the exception of the hi-hats, which have a small central section left semi-raw, the Jazz Series cymbals sport a uniformly natural finish.
Each cymbal has its weight handwritten in ink under the bell, where it is also signed by a cymbalsmith. The Impression logo worn on top of the cymbals cleverly incorporates the crescent and star of the Turkish flag into the company name.
Beginning with the Rock Series cymbals first, and the 14" hi-hats. First impressions are of brightness and aggression. Unsurprisingly - considering their handmade status - they still harbour some warmth beneath the sheen. This lends a little richness to their overall sound - plenty of upfront bite apparent, but embellished with a degree of sophistication.
The 20" ride impresses further. From the bow area comes a strong, focused ping gliding over a silvery wash. High frequencies dominate, giving a lively, slick feel. Sticking the bell produces a sharp peal that rings with metallic urgency. Crashing the ride is possible but not wholly advisable, as its weight means that the decay shudders on for some time.
The single supplied 16" crash opens swiftly and is pitched to cut through. Like the hats, the crash's note is swelled by warmer elements, and as a result it sounds bigger, or perhaps more mature, than its size.
There is nothing ambiguous about the 10" splash. It dispenses snaps of silvery attack before retreating to immediate silence. The 18" china, meanwhile, is trashy - as you'd expect - but pleasingly versatile too. As well as executing typical smash-and-stab china duties it also excels when being ridden, where it transforms the simplest figure into a hissing current of energy.
Moving onto the Jazz Series I begin with the hi-hats, which are altogether different - softer, darker and more intriguing all round. They are languidly mellow at low dynamics and sizzlingly warm in louder situations - the sort of hats that reveal further nuances each time they are played.
Two sets have been sent for review, a 13" and 14" pair. They are broadly similar in tonality and differ mainly in pitch, with the 14" pair being deeper.
The 20" ride gives a woody and faintly smoky stick sound over a flowing wash. Again it is a cymbal that begs to be played into, offering up delicate variations over the playing surface. The bell is shallow and narrow, so delivers more of a concentrated, finely-honed reading of the stick tip rather than an out-and-out clang. Crashing is rewarded with a wide, musical note and a shimmering decay.
The 16" crash is like a smaller, more polite version of the ride. Warm tonality, a full note and smooth decay make it close to irresistible.