Cloudkicker – Portmanteau

“Fourteen Nights” begins with a rapture of hits along the rim of the snare, rhythms intermesh with a painterly touch on the cymbals, and rising to the surface is the murmur of activity, powderkegging under the credence in a full band of one. Hello Portmanteau, hello Cloudkicker, hello Ben Sharp. It has been seven months since The Map Is Not The Territory was uploaded on Sharp’s MySpace under the mantle of Cloudkicker. It has been another two years since we all were first exposed to The Discovery, and the possibilities of what a single Human Being could produce for fun. Cloudkicker is not a touring band, a signed band, a known band, and yet there are those of us who know Cloudkicker, agreeing that this is crucial knowledge. Still those cymbals amble through the ensuing development of “Fourteen Nights”, none of which are anything but the work of pressed keys and binary sequence, yet I know they are there.

“Modulator/Demodulator” deceives, beginning before one had thought it would, transcending and condescending the previous rung notes of stars, stars with broken ribs, murmuring again. Sharp does not treat you kindly with these passages, a further packet of knowledge he has acquired since The Discovery’s all too convenient beauty. These passages do not shock, they do not jar, only force you to accept the oncoming eighth note chords that interrupt that fucking perfect day in the sun. This indulgence (violently rejecting the “self” prefix) quickly morphs into the EP’s crowning moment; a china driven poly that redefines my understanding of groove. This touch aggressively exposes Sharp’s new ability when approaching this style of music, especially where the sixteenth note difference between splash and china implies it’s the birthing measures… Just awe inspiring. The undulating riff that overlaps rhythms as tides, stands at the crux of perfect tempo and perfect cadence, a waltz for this millennium to call its own. He has found such a ruthless bass tone, enriching his previously understood work with new levels of conviction.

“Of Smoke And Fog” complements, bleeds from the previous track into down beat driven riff havens, rolling off into the same groove again. Yes, the same groove, but stronger, capitalizing this time on its own foundation, pushing oxygen into its lungs, and all ribcages in sight. The work slows, the air slows, and the singularity of Portmanteau becomes most evident; it is here that we feel this needed to be released, this resounding idea that took the superficial guise of tech metal was a magnum opus in disguise, a four part Portmanteau of modern renown. And the inspiration is a daydream, an aside from Sharp’s apparent full time job, implied extracurricular lifestyle, here are the ideas that take shape at no cost, no deadline, and no motivation except the imagination’s.

“God Be With Ye” promises,  and is too mature to deliver unearned emotional response. It ends, it ends, it ends, it ends, it ends and it ends Portmanteau as Portmanteau. It ends it as the singular work it promised to be, it ends it with expense, it ends it as a promise for even greater respect. These offerings of fifteen minutes come when they come, and represent a magnificent future. This spits in the face of the amateur. This ends the amateur. This uplifts private expression and capitalizes on technology, answering the promises of those futurists who swore a utopia of artistic drool would be anything more than that. This, all from one Human Being in Ohio. All from Portmanteau. Thank you for existing, thank you for existing, thank you for existing, thank you for existing.


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