Fire-Toolz – Drip Mental

Digital release on 2/3/17. Physical release on CD and Cassette on 2/24/17.

C52 – gray tape with black imprints. Pro-dubbed chrome plus cassette. 2-side 6-panel J-card with album lyrics and artwork by Fire-Toolz.

CD features a 4-panel booklet with lyrics and artwork from Fire-Toolz.

Just as modern experimental music traces a conversation between juxtaposed traditions, live performance tactics, and software-abetted composition frameworks, the music that Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist producer Angel Marcloid makes under her Fire-Toolz moniker burns through ideas and genres at a pace faster than the typical human brain can fathom. Drip Mental, her first release on Hausu Mountain following 2015’s Even The Files Won’t Touch You (Depravity Label), presents a 48-minute program that smears an untold library of mangled samples and live instrumentation into a hallucinatory vision of progressive songwriting and electro-industrial abandon. Her endlessly combinatory tracks fuse complex percussion workouts, guttural screams, and shimmering synthetic backdrops into bursts of aggressive self-discovery that seek to overload the senses and upset conventions with each hairpin transition. Fire-Toolz‘s compositions slither between boundaries of internet detritus, finely tailored electronic collage, and unhinged metallic catharsis, planting vocal outpours of emotion and towering earworm riffs within detailed networks of found sound and programmed electronics.

Beneath signifiers that drop listeners’ attention spans into rabbit holes of intersecting musical styles (see: cyberpunk, vaporwave, EBM, trance), the heart of Marcloid’s practice lies in her reexamination of mundane daily life through the lens of the sardonic prodigy, the grimly enlightened, the a-little-too-emo. The stories that populate her compositions spin through chapters of isolation and PTSD, sex and/or love, weed and internet-induced stupefaction, and workday grind. Fire-Toolz maps out her own conception of modern Chicago life not only by way of her lyrical content, but through a cast of collaborators that appear for moments within the chaos: Gel Set‘s pulsing techno grids, Forced Into Femininity‘s unmistakable vocal theatrics, Good Willsmith‘s fine-grain drone. Tracks like “Busy Beaver Lunch Break” extend over suite-like structures of four-on-the-floor throb, garbled synthesis, and a dizzying array of vocal styles. Peals of harsh noise interrupt the digital hardcore stomp of “To See My Hatred Clearly” before soaring keyboard leads break into a chopped-and-screwed saxophone sample conclusion. The monolithic album closer “?” solidifies Angel’s spastic production decisions into a sentimental anthem closer to italo-disco, frosted with black metal screams and elaborate piano solos. Far from seeming random in execution, each tiny element of Fire-Toolz‘s mosaic proves crucial to express the beautiful and grotesque depths of her personality, and the distances through which her musical self-education has wandered.