Review Summary: Ladies and gentlemen, do you leave the house with only one shoe tied? Are you content with your catfish for dinner being mostly raw? Do you pride yourself on only making the right side of the bed? If so, then Loop’s for you!
Benjamin Sharp stands out in the do-it-yourself music scene as a chameleon, an ever-changing musician basking in the versatility of his discography. One look at “Let Yourself Be Huge” after studying his much more calculated, riff-sporting earlier releases indicates that he’s most comfortable creating something monumental and then leaving it in the dust, perhaps resurrecting it in nondescript ways in the future but never more. Yes, his past widely alters his musical future, but Cloudkicker is one musician with a wide array of influences, and a songwriter that aspires to be more universal than that of his peers.
One quality of Cloudkicker that certainly sets him apart from others in the instrumental genre is the steady influx of his music over only the past four years. Ever since the inception of “The Map Is the Territory” in 2008 he’s since released so many full-lengths and EPs that his aspirations have propelled him to the forefront of the independent music scene. Unlike other obscenely proficient musicians probably named Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Sharp never feels the need to release albums that he doesn’t truly find himself satisfied with at the end of the day. Well, until Loop.
Loop is quite the mystery, and why exactly it was released is the one question that eludes me. Sure, it’s kind of alright in some places, but mostly it’s an irritating listen just because it lacks the persistent polish that Sharp has always made sure to apply to his releases. The restraint is coated much too thin on Loop, every idea lodged in Sharp’s mind surfaced unquestionably. This would be more acceptable if the ideas went somewhere, instead of tending to drone on for the song's length, but the intricate system of layering that makes Cloudkicker’s music so enjoyable is entirely absent here. Instead Loop is a collection of sixteen riffs, lukewarm concepts that aren’t really too capable of standing by themselves, and they’re left twisting in the wind.
It's also tragic how little time each track is given to flourish, because it feels as if once they truly start to get going the track ends. This leads to an immense lack of fulfillment all throughout Loop, a longing for at least an inkling of something more profound that's never sated. It's almost as if Sharp has lost the confidence he's always possessed, that self-assurance that's always granted him the ability to turn just that one sick groove into something truly special. He lacks the drive to take Loop further and is content with leaving the album in a state of only slight hints towards what could have been.
Loop exists as a half-baked amalgamation of ideas that could have been very successful as actual songs, but remain as incomplete shimmers at what could have been. After all of the intensive labor Cloudkicker’s placed into his other releases, the existence of this strange blip in Sharp’s discography is a little mystifying. However, it’s very assuring that this was released at the same time as Let Yourself Be Huge, indeed a huge step into a most rejuvenating style. This is perhaps to be disregarded more than anything, because although this was deemed important enough to be released, it’s not at all indicative of the prowess of Cloudkicker lately. So while Loop isn’t very good, let’s keep in mind that at least these ideas are now disposed of, and Ben Sharp can let himself dive into a new project headfirst, and be even huger.
I feel like the majority of this review is about Cloudkick's other releases, then you go onto saying why you don't like this without saying what it sounds like or giving any reasons besides the general.
it doesnt really seem fair to judge this. it isn't supposed to be a proper album/release, it's just something he put on the internet for the sake of giving people some stuff for free. i think he said himself somewhere that he gave away these loops to be used and manipulated by people who care to use them, for a bit of fun for themselves, rather than to be listened to by any critical audience. he said the "album" sounds better when listened-to with crossfade, so the fact that he didn't put it in crossfade when he uploaded it goes to show that it wasn't supposed to be listened to in the conventional sense.
i dunno, just thought that was worth saying, in case people were judging this and worrying that he was losing his touch as a musician or something.
Minty901, that's one thing I discussed in the review. It does need to be known that this release isn't necessarily a proper one of his, but I feel like he may want to put just a little more thought into what he does and doesn't release absolutely everything he makes. And I did make sure to talk in the review about how this isn't a reason for worry, that it wasn't his main focus at the time.
And judging music isn't always to dissuade or persuade people to check it out - one always has to keep in mind what their personal tastes are. This release will be enjoyed by those that like messing around with loops on their guitars, and maybe adding onto the palette that Cloudkicker created here, but for a person like me that doesn't play too much guitar it's quite bare.
yeah dont get me wrong it was a great review and you made all the right points. just something worth reiterating i guess. say if it was the 90s and he put all his music out in physical media, this wouldn't have seen the light of day because he knows it isn't worthwhile listening material. its only because he can so easily put stuff on the internet that hes put this out there for people to have if they want it.
either way, good review, and ur right you did make the point about not to worry etc.
Thank you :] I guess that's one interesting topic, how much an artist should release when they're technically allowed to actually release. It tends to mean less when an artist releases a shit-ton of music. However, clearly Cloudkicker hasn't been bad about it, and he does maintain this air of intrigue about him, which I love. I feel like that's one thing missing from musicians' lives these days, because we can learn so much about their lives now. It's cool, but also worth being cautious about I guess.