Cloudkicker
Subsume


4.5
superb

Review

by Caleb C. USER (26 Reviews)
September 17th, 2013 | 89 replies


Release Date: 09/14/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Remembering the sound of the tsunami.

As a beloved artist moves from one style to another while retaining and discarding bits and pieces of previous material, I am sometimes perplexed at what they choose to leave behind. The outcome is not that I don’t enjoy the new material, but instead am left with mild disdain in the fact that I would never have another version of that album I had held so dear. If executed with proper care and skill, the jump between albums could easily disorient enough to have me forgetting that entire facet of the artist’s music existed. As such, when Ben Sharp’s Cloudkicker transformed from coarse polyrhythms to more melodic, atmospheric offerings, I never batted an eye. This maturation was expected as it is what instrumental bands do. They tone it down, spread it out, and emotion it up.

That last part is what makes Cloudkicker different. Beacons already had a story to tell, even with Cloudkicker in its infancy. A tragic, emotive story. Yet as Ben Sharp has progressed through his career he has left his picture painting-side behind, electing for small novellas instead of the grand epics. These works were still stellar and completely engrossing. But it’s on the first listen of Subsume that I realize that those prior works had been criminally stripped of the fervency and plot upon which Beacons had spoiled me. Even though the only clue into the intention of the music is the length song titles, the album contains a thread linking each track and idea to the last to create a complete work completely unlike Fade and Let Yourself Be Huge. Subsume deals in the depression of life and our inability to cope without emotional upheaval.

In keeping in line with his current trajectory, Sharp could have easily just darkened the mood to accomplish this message. It would work, no doubt, but we’d be missing out on the other aspects of such a diverse theme. But Sharp knows the topic isn't that simple, and doesn't squander the potential to attack from all sides. From the melancholy midsection of “A weather front…” to the intense pulsating climax of “He would be riding…”, Cloudkicker brings the kitchen sink of prior works. The most readily apparent is the return of polyrhythms to step up the passion to match the complex nature of the subject matter. They are then shrouded in the airy atmosphere of Let Yourself Be Huge, and patterns repeat and build recalling (albeit slighty) the experimental Loop. And in typical Cloudkicker fashion, the songwriting genius brings it all together neatly, expressing anger, frustration, and sadness throughout the albums length. Sharp treads backwards to rediscover his old ideals while keeping his mind firmly on his more recent dealings, effectively moving forward while learning from his past. If only it was that easy for the rest of us.



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user ratings (206)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
David Driver (4)
Beacons 2.0, incorporating all of Ben Sharp’s growth over the years....


Comments:Add a Comment 
iswimfast
September 16th 2013


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i haven't the slightest idea if this review actually works. whatever. stream is here:

http://cloudkickermusic.com/

MO
September 16th 2013


19078 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

rules

iswimfast
September 16th 2013


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

maybe i should change my review to that.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
September 16th 2013


11805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Review would make a great soundoff, but I left knowing nothing about what's great or flawed about the album or what it sounds like. Either make it a sound off or Expand a bit? Just stuff to think about. I love your first paragraph though.

Digging: Rishloo - Living as Ghosts with Buildings as Teeth

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2013


2043 Comments


A pos for my previous n0ted bro. I really like the way this reads (and it's super well-written), but I do agree that you could add a little more to it to describe the content a bit more.

Digging: Damascus - When Last We Met

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2013


11805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea just add a couple more paragraphs and you'll be good.

iswimfast
September 17th 2013


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hmm ok ill see what i can conjure.

also, we are next to each other on the front page. that is hilarious : )

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2013


2043 Comments


IT WAS MEANT TO BE!!! ;.;

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
September 17th 2013


11805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ugh get a room ;)

iswimfast
September 17th 2013


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'm having a really hard time bringing myself to describe "what it sounds like" too much. i feel like focusing on the feelings it conjures is the way to go here.

sigh. does this make it any clearer?

zaruyache
September 17th 2013


7418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Awkward song movement transitions aside, this is just as good as anything else he's put out. I like it a bit more than Fade, but probably on par with 'Huge and Beacons.

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

AnimalsAsSummit
September 17th 2013


960 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In latest news, Cloudkicker goes for epic post rock.

And it's damn sexy

Digging: Bowery Electric - Beat

paradox1216
September 17th 2013


521 Comments


taken as one huge piece of music, it's quite magical

OmNomsky
September 17th 2013


8 Comments


Sounds like Sharp's been listening to a lot of Mouth of the Architect.

zaruyache
September 17th 2013


7418 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I actually kinda like how he weirdly separated song movements. Kinda forces you to listen to more of the record instead of a 5 minute song here and there. Well played, sir.

Notaflower
September 17th 2013


178 Comments


didnt did this very much on first listen but in due process I shall listen

YakNips
September 17th 2013


13225 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This better be a 5

Digging: Jordaan Mason - The Decline of Stupid Fucking Western Civilization

Calc
September 17th 2013


12367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

didn't dig review.

kinda dig the release.

iswimfast
September 17th 2013


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well at least the music is good guys

Cappa
September 17th 2013


120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you're negin' on this album you're antisemitic.



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