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Fire-Toolz - "Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace)" | Album Review


by Patrick Pilch (@pratprilch)

No one quite does it like Angel Marcloid. From Mindspring Memories to Nonlocal Forecast, Toad Computers and more, the Chicago based multi-instrumentalist uses different aliases to usher buckling melodies and distinct virtual abstractions into our own warped reality. Fire-Toolz’s Orange Milk debut is a dense amalgamation of maximalist prog and quantum physics, the holographic principle of glitched jazz fusion. Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace) is Marcloid’s experimentation with calculated mayhem, as the producer jukes fluidly through acerbic breakdowns, splintering blast beats and smooth jazz synths.

Field Whispers nestles pop arrangements between vapor-laced sound collages, meandering into harsh noise and refocusing with clear-eyed melodies. The record works brilliantly through compositional tension and fragmental overload. Scuttled percussion lives between slap-bass MIDI lines and layered background synths, as Marcloid utilizes crowded juxtaposition to link her sonic identities like never before. The perspectives of Nonlocal Forecast and Mindspring Memories mingle over Fire-Toolz's acidic foundation of noise and electronics, materializing in the flagship project's most comprehensive, forward-thinking release to date.

Fire-Toolz’s annual releases have given listeners a real time glimpse into Angel Marcloid’s evolution as a musician, producer and songwriter. With Field Whispers, she naturally spins her knowhow into novelty, crafting dense, more extensive passages without ever sacrificing originality. As Marcloid develops as an arranger, Field Whispers asserts itself with every detail. There’s always a piece of minutiae to hang onto: a full band power chord, the gripping post-chorus synth on "✓ BEiNG,” and just about every stock sample in the first half of “The Warm-Body.” It's surreal and hectic but ear-catching enough to get the most casual listener on board.

Behind Field Whispers' curtain of sporadic fuzz and acidic glitches are some truly moving pop moments: the way the record pivots from the electro-prog liberation of “Hologram Of A Composite” to the arguable sea-punk ballad “✓ BEiNG” fills a void like no other. "The Pain Body" is a club track and "She Was Me" is a total hit but that doesn't really matter; it's catchy from front to back and begs multiple spins. Field Whispers is one of the best records you'll hear this year from one of the most versatile and exciting producers in recent memory.