Skinless X-1

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Skinless X-1 is a significant step up for Angel Marcloid's genre-obliterating Fire-Toolz project. The album still contains a lot of the hallmarks of her previous albums -- it's still an intense, disorienting mix of harsh screaming, caffeinated glitch, smooth jazz/vaporwave textures, and highly complex melodies informed by prog-metal and IDM. However, all of these elements seem more fully integrated and less jarring here than on previous albums like Drip Mental. There are fewer AOL notification sounds, and overall, it sounds less gimmicky and Internet-y. There's also more of a reflection of spirituality and self-awareness here -- Marcloid points to Thich Nhat Hanh and Alan Watts as influences. While the album contains some of Fire-Toolz' most relaxed moments, such as the cool, shimmering "Response to Subdivisions," there are also more heart-racing ones such as the anthemic glitch-punk suite "iNTERBEiNG" and the piano-driven acid dream techno of "Shadowfacts." Like Dedekind Cut, Fire-Toolz references new age music but also doesn't shy away from channeling dark thoughts. She's not quite at peace, but she's come a lot farther than she has before.

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