UFIP cymbals are hand-manufactured in Italy using a unique centrifuge-casting process, called Rotocasting®, where liquid B20 alloy is poured into fast rotating forms (most Turkish style cymbals are the result of a rolling and pressing process). Centrifugal force pushes any impurities towards the outer edge of the cymbal which are then eliminated during lathing. This results in a thicker bell and a more compact molecular structure of the cymbal, ensuring greater durability and a natural improvement in sound quality as time goes on.
My first experience of a UFIP was years ago when I randomly tried one of their 10” splashes in a drum shop. It made the brand name splashes next to it sound like pie pans in comparison, having all the depth, shimmer and lush qualities of a high-end full-size crash, just smaller. I was so impressed, the next week I literally traded all my cymbals for UFIPs. I’ve since incorporated other brands of rides and hats, but my main crashes have remained a 17” and 18” UFIP Class series. I’ve yet to find another crash that has the same shimmer and sensitivity to even the smallest tap with a brush.
For this review I wanted to try one of UFIP’s newer and more specialized offerings, so they sent us an assortment of the Experience Series Blast crashes and a pair of 15” hi-hats. Polished to a high gloss, Blasts are explosive and bright, with a fast attack and short decay. They’d be most at home in drum ‘n’ bass, jungle, and industrial/electro styles. And with such a specialized, modern sound – trashy and China-like – they’re on the verge of being high quality effect cymbals. But –and this is a big but– unlike many effect cymbals, there’s nothing cheap or harsh sounding about them — they still have that beautiful UFIP shimmer. Each size crash, 16”, 17” and 19”, had a distinctive pitch responding to even the lightest taps, and the 15” hats were just flat-out awesome: even with a lighter top cymbal, they still gave a meaty stick feel with a potent chick, but the same trashy explosiveness as the crashes, and a great sizzle when slightly open.
Having an entire set of the Blasts on my kit inspired me to experiment with different styles and brought out a new kind of creativity I didn’t know was there. Similar to how guitarists write new songs when they pick up a different guitar, I played differently with the Blasts. I downloaded a electro play-along track they were perfect for and had hours of fun applying 6-stroke rudiments around the kit and on the hats and cymbals.
If you are a drum and bass or electro/industrial player, it’s almost an imperative to try out the Blasts – they’re that good. If you’re not, while you may not want an entire set (unless you can afford the option of switching out your main cymbals for specific musical situations that call for a trashy sound), having one or two Blasts in your arsenal would be an awesome way to bring in a modern sound that’s akin to a China, but that has the sonic depth and beauty of a handmade Italian cymbal.
JJ Jones is an internationally touring, Berklee-trained drummer and educator. She has played with folk-pop darlings Girlyman, singer/songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche, comedian Margaret Cho, LA’s riot-pop band WASI, and Egyptian revolutionary Ramy Essam, among many others. She is the founder of EmpowerDrumming.com.