Reviews Cloudkicker Loop



Following the release of Beacons in 2010, musician Ben Sharp began releasing a series of short, acoustic instrumental loops on his blog. At the time, they were nothing more than a set of enjoyable curios. They sounded like some of the earlier post-rock material he had released as B. M. Sharp before starting Cloudkicker in earnest, and they were far removed from the sound he had evolved to. Were they future riff ideas? Were they just idle doodles? It wasn't really that clear. But they were still enjoyable little diversions. Loop collects those tracks, plus a few new ones, for easy download.

In that regard, this isn't so much an album as it is a compilation. There really isn't any overarching cohesion to the way the songs are arranged; the album sounds almost exactly the same on shuffle as it does played straight through. It also doesn't have anything that could be considered a fully-fledged song--these really are just short, one or two minute acoustic doodles set to repeat. Though some of these tracks have some wonderful ideas that sound like full-fledged songs waiting to be developed, the tracks in general seem either too repetitive or end before they've really had a chance to do all they can. From the perspective of someone looking for an album of new individual songs to hear, it is frustrating and non-fulfilling.

Perhaps that's judging it in entirely the wrong way, however. I mean, Loop is not exactly attempting to be an album in the same vein as Sharp's other releases in the first place. It feels more like an experimental diversion than a brand new set of songs. Sharp recommends listening to it with a 10-12 second crossfade, and the way the tracks blend into each other is It is rather, for lack of a better word, pretty. It creates a really pleasant soundscape, and you can definitely hear hints of Sharp's other music as the ideas fade in and out. Even then, however, I feel that it still doesn't generate enough interest to be more than background music, and that seems like I am being disingenuous to his talent.

What I'm getting at is that this really isn't a release for everyone. People who were hoping for another collection of ferocious progressive metal will be sorely disappointed, but if the idea of some gentle acoustic background music seems appealing to you, then this is the album for you. It's a nice experiment, and since it's free, you're really not losing anything from giving it a try. But you aren't going to miss anything by skipping it, either.

4.0 / 10Sarah
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