2014 was a big year for Cloudkicker. Hot off the heels of the project’s fourth studio album, Subsume, Cloudkicker had the opportunity to become a real band and tour the country thanks to Intronaut. This was a rare tour, as the ‘band’ is actually the one-man project of Ben Sharp. Billed alongside Intronaut and Tesseract, Cloudkicker was suddenly in front of a lot more eyes and ears. So it’s not surprising that the notoriously private musician all but disappeared into the ether after the tour, as if decompressing.
And that’s what Little Histories is – the sound of a comedown after a huge event. Everything here is stripped back from its predecessor, Subsume, trading the dense layering and huge distorted cinematics of that album for a more sludgy, minimalist production. It sounds like the aftermath of that record, mostly drifting along with clean, reverb-rich guitars and occasionally stumbling into a heavier, fuzzed-out riff. But for the most part, Little Histories is more meditative and mild-mannered, pleasantly blurring the line between post-rock and post-metal.
However, with this restraint, Cloudkicker’s sense of musical adventurousness is muted. If you’ve been listening to any of his material since 2010’s Beacons, this EP probably won’t surprise you: all the hallmarks of his sound since then are on full display, nothing more, nothing less. There is a flash of experimentation with the vocoded vocals on Sky Guide (which turns out to be one of the most interesting and unique pieces in his catalog, and echoes God is an Astronaut), though otherwise those moments are few and far between. But for an artist like Ben Sharp, these little diversions are necessary, because they allow him to further explore a sound without the worry of reinvention. Sometimes it’s nice to lower the gear and wander the scenic route, and that’s exactly what Little Histories does.
As always, you can get all of Cloudkicker’s music for pay what you want pricing over at http://cloudkickermusic.com/.
KEY TRACKS: Sky Guide, Digital Lightning