Fire-Toolz | Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace)
Orange Milk Records (LP/DL)
‘All Over The Place’. That is the term often used to categorize music that covers so much ground that it is often too much for its own good. Sure, but then, sometimes it is due to the fact that is a bit too hard to put a finger on what the artist is doing or trying to achieve. Still, in the end the key criteria should be is it good to listen to, or not?
With Fire-Toolz (aka Angel Marcloid) the latest release Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace) sees such dilemma can certainly be brought up again. The artist, who plays and does practically everything here, from voice, drums, electric & acoustic guitar, fretless bass, virtual studio technology, field recordings, circuit-bent junk, composition, lyrics, to recording, production, mixing, and mastering (the sole extra roles are given to Ian Smith who contributes sax on Clear Light and, as it says in the liner notes, “Breakfast: Meow on Sunbears“, whatever that means, Fire-Toolz is definitely all over the place – mostly as an electronic release.
While in many cases when you categorize music that covers so much ground the artist(s) lose focus because they really don’t have a clear musical purpose, on Field Whispers there is a definite sense of purpose and musical cohesiveness. Marcloid is taking a look at modern ambient music that leans towards the dreaded new age genre, but through the eyes (ears and sounds) of modern electronics, beats and sampling. But instead of sampling somebody else’s sounds – the artist is cutting and splicing the ones that are truly original and produced by live instruments.
In many ways, Fire-Toolz and Field Whispers represents a break from what Marcloid has done before within the realms of vaporware, within the genre’s tenets with projects like MindSpring Memories (see: recontextualization of pre-exisiting muzak and fusion compositions, variations in tempo, heavy effects processing) and has explored the scene through the prolific output of her labels Swamp Circle and Rainbow Bridge.
What we get here is a whirling set of kaleidoscopic sounds that keep on shifting and changing both in rhythm and melody, often within seconds, turning ambient new age into something very exciting and ultimately something that you can really listen to.