Album of the Day: Fire-Toolz, “Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace)”

Angel Marcloid’s Fire-Toolz project has always been a melting pot, an unholy combination of extreme metal, experimental noise, pop, and vaporwave. It’s the product of a brand of unfettered curiosity, nurtured by access to countless digital wormholes. “I’ve sought to cultivate more calmness, solitude, serenity, and peace in my life over the years,” she told VICE, in an interview shortly after last year’s Skinless X-1. “I imagine that within the next five [years, Fire-Toolz] will be full-on meditation music.” Her latest record, Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace), is her most cohesive and exciting release yet. While the opening track, “mailto:spasm@swamp.god?subject=Mind-Body Parallels,” incorporates the demonic growls of previous releases, they take a back seat to processed vocals and a bass-heavy smooth fusion jazz that blurs the line between future funk and exceptionally good hold music. Even when the ending combusts in an explosion of blast beats and shredding guitar, the song still remains transcendent, not aggressive.

Album highlight “✓ BEiNG” manages to combine New Age tranquility (complete with bird calls) with distorted spoken word, bombastic guitar solos ripped out of a racing game for the Sega Dreamcast, and paint-stripping shrieks. This contrast between energizing sounds and aesthetic serenity persists throughout the whole album, from the save-screen synths of “April Snowstorm (Idyllic Mnemonic)” to the throbbing house of “The Pain-Body (Wild Energy Spheres).” She ends with a memorial to her cat, Breakfast, whose gentle meows lend a fond, upbeat spirit to “Smiling At Sunbears Grooming In Sunbeams.” That song eventually ends with some of the harsh vocals and blast beats that used to, at least partially, define Fire-Toolz, but those all fade into the quiet smacks and snarfs of Breakfast eating. Marcloid’s reputation may stem from her brutality, and yet, it’s touching, soft moments like these that set Field Whispers apart.

-Ed Blair

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