As we lamented in our sprawling end of year list the abundance of great music released in 2021 made it difficult to keep up. We aim to rectify that with this new summer series where we cover the music that we are ashamed to admit we never quite managed to highlight, yet have found ourselves returning to again and again.
So Fire-Toolz appeared in my inbox in October and I was immediately terrified. And still am. I checked back periodically to see if I was wrong, but no, its a couple of months later and I’m still terrified.
It’s the work of Chicago based artist Angel Marcloid and the music is remarkable. It’s a place where prog rock meets jazz fusion by way of industrial electronic music and black metal, and if you think I’m throwing a whole bunch of genres together in the hope they stick you’d be very accurate. I’ve never heard any music that is this much of a potpourri of approaches, yet at the same time this singular and idiosyncratic. It’s compelling and its an assault, everything is pushed to 11. It’s melodic and crushing, with brutally fuzzed out angst filled screeching vocals. When I wasn’t terrified I spent a lot of time laughing – its that audacious. I have no idea what this is. But I know it’s good. It’s everything including the kitchen sink music, yet as impactful as it is, Marcloid has incredibly tight control over all the elements. I really wonder what Marcloid feels when listening back to this music, cock rock guitar riffs pop up for a few seconds, some delicate Weather Report keyboard runs, alongside crushing industrial beats, new age synths, bubbly electronics and aggressive glitch hop. Nothing should work together, yet it all does and you wonder why no one else dares to be this adventurous.
There are 25 tracks on Eternal Home and it’s the most accomplished overwhelming outsider music you will ever hear. It’s also definitely the weirdest thing I heard in 2021. I bow down.
So then in November Hausu Mountain decided to release the instrumentals, freed from Marcloid’s fuzzed out screeches, and weirdly it’s kind’ve beautiful. It feels like the kind of music that should have been the soundtrack to the latest Blade Runner film, a kind of retrofuturistic burst of melodic energy. In one sense it highlights the genius of Marcloid’s ridiculously precocious compositions, but in another sense it made me a little sad because its missing the cream on the top, at least if you define cream as brutal screeching.
If you have never heard Fire-Toolz you’re in for a treat. There’s nothing else like it.