Title: Little Histories
Release Date: 2014 Dec 01
Genre: Ambient Metal
License: CC BY
Label: Self Release
I discovered Cloudkicker shortly before the release of Subsume and became an instant fan. At the time I was too enthralled with Fade and the earlier releases, and missed the release of Subsume. By the time I had realized it was out it was really too late to review. Fortunately, the Little Histories of Cloudkicker is on my radar soon enough.
Little Histories Of Cloudkicker
Ben Sharp (aka Cloudkicker) has done something that many artists dream of, but very few manage to achieve: invented their own style of music. Ben has fused the minimal style of Steve Reich and Phillip Glass with ambient elements and some progressive and jazz rhythmic elements into the metal genre. This is a truly mind-bending style that really appeals to a broad audience.
Having established the ambient metal style, Ben has been expanding his range by bringing acoustic and melancholic elements back in on his recent releases. On Little Histories there are even vocoder processed vocals blended into the track ‘Sky Guide’.
Little Histories is the first release since Ben toured with Intronaut earlier this year. The result of the tour was a Live With Intronaut recording that is not available under the same license as all of the other Cloudkicker releases since the musicians in Intronaut are under contract. (However, a streaming version of Live With Intronaut is available on the Cloudkicker BandCamp site as well as many videos available on YouTube.)
Little Histories has a bit more of an immediate feel to it than some of the intricate earlier works by Ben. His experience on the road with Intronaut has brought a new feel for his music to his recording process. This release feels less multi-tracked and engineered, and more natural.
But, even in bringing this new feeling to his music, he hasn’t lost any of the elements that have been the backbone of his style. ‘Parliament’ opens the release with an acoustic / melancholic touch. ‘Chameleon’ is as heavy as anything on Subsume or Fade. ‘Digital Lightning’ and ‘Hassan’ showcase his ability to weave complex rhythmic shifts and patterns into his work.
What can I say? This is Cloudkicker in top form, with a new infusion of energy gained from performing live with Intronaut. It speaks volumes that in trying to bring this new energy to this release, Ben hasn’t lost anything that has made his work really stand out in a very crowded genre of music. But in saying this, I would just suggest listening to this release. It’s really something to experience with your own ears, instead of just reading about the little histories of Cloudkicker.
Oh, BTW – go buy a copy of this release. If for no other reason there is a bonus track included with the download.