Fire-Toolz

Rainbow Bridge

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Rainbow Bridge Review

by Paul Simpson

Angel Marcloid named her 2020 full-length, Rainbow Bridge, after the noise label she operated until about 2015, just as she began concentrating on her Fire-Toolz project. Dedicated to her deceased cat, Breakfast, the album's cover shows a seated gray feline facing a staircase leading up to a neon explosion in the sky. The music, like much of the project's discography, is a glittering, punishing mixture of smooth jazz keyboards, prog rock guitar riffs, death metal drums, and cathartic howling, with frequent deep dives into bubbling, glitching sound collage. Compared to her earlier releases, the metal parts are heavier and more vicious, while the jazz fusion guitars are friendlier and more melodic, yet it all fits together in a way that somehow sounds less jarring than the project did in the past. This is relatively speaking, of course. Newcomers to Marcloid's music will be absolutely gobsmacked and need some time to process it all (or perhaps will be horrified and flee immediately), but longtime listeners will be familiar with her confounding juxtapositions and advanced song structures. Simply put, she's an expert at what she does, which is completely unique and unmistakable for anyone else. The album's most ambitious compositions venture down several different avenues, exploring the myriad possibilities of life and death. "It's Now Safe to Turn Off Your Computer" mixes sparkling keyboards and sheets of metal guitar with sophisticated IDM beat sequences and enraged shrieking, then disappears down a disorienting wormhole of explosions, buffering noises, and bird chirps. One of the more calming pieces, "angel (Of Death)," employs a familiar breakbeat (the Soul Searchers' "Ashley's Roachclip") which is slowed down and chopped up into a knotty time signature, yet still sounds smooth due to the Weather Channel-styles synth textures and melodies. Then it all cools out and clears the way for hypnotic waves of kalimba-like tones to take over. The serene vaporwave drift of closing track "creamographic Memory" is one of Marcloid's most beautiful tracks to date, wrapping up an intense exploration of mortality, fate, and the afterlife.

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