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Cloudkicker
Portmanteau


4.0
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes EMERITUS
October 11th, 2010 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


It makes me quite content knowing that not only is Ben Sharp an Ohio native, but he also happens to live in my very city. While I don't personally know him, it's great knowing that such an intriguing musician actually resides in the city of Columbus. And not only does he simply call this city his home, but rather, it is the place of Cloudkicker's entire existence. You see, although Mr. Sharp has garnered quite a bit of attention with his instrumental project, he does not tour, nor does he go to any studio. Cloudkicker is a completely at home endevour. Sharp writes, records, and produces all of Cloudkicker's material at his home in Columbus.

And that's what I find so endearing about Cloudkicker. It feels like a natural progression for music, where one man can create art, and distribute it as he/she wills. While it's ridiculous to assume that the music industry will fold, paving the way for one person acts across the nation, it is really interesting to see what Sharp is doing here. All of Cloudkicker's material thus far has been completely free. While there aren't true, manufactured physical jewel cased disks, every song can be found on his website. Sharp simply enjoys what he is doing, making music and letting others enjoy. And enjoyment is exactly what people have been getting out of Sharp's music. Since 2008's "The Discovery," Cloudkicker has gone on to release three EP's and a sophomore LP. "Portmanteau" is the music act's third effort, and an overall brilliant EP.

What is so interesting about "Portmanteau" is that one can fully hear Cloudkicker's metamorphosis from an "melodic Meshuggah," to what he's accomplished on his second album. It's a great mediation between both styles. While I never really agreed with the Meshuggah comparison, as there have been other bands to have actually done polyrithms, it seemed like a decent enough tag to garner him some attention. However, since his debut, Cloudkicker has veered of that path and has really begun to make a name for himself. Stylistically, "Portmanteau" is more melodic, and features less "chug-a-lugging" than in previous releases. It's the sound of an artist growing comfortable with himself and his sound, and it all feels very organic. Unfortunately, there are still moments of mechanical chugging, which detract a little from the overall personality of the EP. However, there's more variety throughout, with some clear moments of beauty at the beginning of "Modulator/Demodulator," and some very chaotic moments in "God Be With Ye." "God Be With Ye" is really the stand out of the EP. It's got plenty of highs and lows, with a lot of variety that really shows off Sharp's skills as a musician and performer. The polyrithmic portions are fantastic without seeming too gimicky, and the slower portions lack any sort of generic vibe. It is truly a brilliant track with a lot of detail and precision.

For an at home endeavor, "Portmanteau" sounds incredible. I'm not sure what kind of magic Sharp does in his at home studio, but whatever it is clearly works. The drums are digitized, but all of the work is done by him and him alone. And the wonderful guitar work is also done by him. He states that he will simply sit down and noodle around on his guitar until he finds something that works. Yet it all feels a little more planned out than that, because everything works so well.

"Portmanteau" is a brilliant, wonderful EP. With such simple, yet profound releases, Cloudkicker is truly becoming the musician to watch.



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user ratings (170)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
bloc
October 11th 2010


70370 Comments


I never liked this guy the first time either, but now he's sounding pretty darn good. Although I didn't like his newest one Beacons that much.

LostViking
October 11th 2010


79 Comments


Solid review man. I will certainly be checking this out. Simply based on the strength of Beacons. I really like this guys musical vision.

Pygmalion
October 12th 2010


1 Comments


Excellent EP, this format of music distribution is the future of the music industry...

Hopefully more artists will go this self produced route and distribute their material free or very affordable and then hit the road and make their money off merch and ticket sales. Given that the bands dont make much off their album sales anyway it makes sense to go this route. All thats really missing is the label to give the "push" but with some smart (and hard) work online you can create your own push...

Download all Cloudkickers material and distribute it to those you know might like it...



Sevhead
November 19th 2011


569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tracklist contains humorous error

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2012


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I really like this, especially Fourteen Nights

More attention in the Portmanteau corner plz

NoMeansYes
August 19th 2012


1012 Comments


terralbum

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2012


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Nah, rules

Insurrection
October 12th 2012


24844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fourteen nights is amazing

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 22nd 2013


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Agreed, top 5 Cloudkicker

MO
January 22nd 2013


24043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well there aren't much to choose from for a top 5, but yea this is good

Yuli
Emeritus
September 26th 2013


10767 Comments


Whoa, Eli reviewed Cloudkicker?

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2013


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I think this actually be my favourite Clouckicker

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2014


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Bump because this is awesome.

parksungjoon
October 25th 2021


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

why does track 1 go into melodeath sotscore at 2 mins

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2021


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

what

parksungjoon
October 25th 2021


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yea its weird

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2021


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

yeah i don't hear it at all, there are hundreds of riffs that contain that combination of intervals but it's rare to hear them presented in that kinda atmospheric context. comparing that to sots is like barking up the chuck berry tree for anything with a lick of rocknroll

parksungjoon
October 25th 2021


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not sots but definitely generic melodeath riff writing



bit of it again on track 3

parksungjoon
October 25th 2021


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

and again on track 4



weird

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2021


60907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

track 4 is a straight reprise of track 1 but track 3 is p boring yh

and idk if anyone jams cloudkicker for riffs tbh



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