It’s kind of a misconception that heavy music is a dull, colorless place. While there are many owners of a dark, achromatic style, there are just as many acts that treat heavy music as a veritable explosion of hues, nuances, and tones. Chicago’s Fire-Toolz is one of those proponents of heaviness’ unlimited tinctures. Solo project led by Angel Marcloid, Fire-Toolz is a polychromatic erasure of stylistic boundaries, refracting elements of progressive rock, black metal, jazz fusion and IDM through a throbbing digital mirror.
Like many of what has been called “internet music“, Fire-Toolz is a product of the fractured here and now. Decades of postmodern thinking has destabilized the restrictions of identity and merged with the qualities of everything, everywhere, all the time of the perpetually connected internet age. This has spawned a new culture that sees restrictions such as genre and form as relics of the past Fire-Toolz’s latest EP, especially electronic-leaning I won’t be using body eyes today. is a bold illustration of this wild new artistic approach.
Like the way we naturally scroll past thousands of pixels every second, these seven tracks employ a relentless, overwhelming, maximalist style that is often as disorienting as it is irresistible. The tracks almost never fixate on a texture or pattern for their entire duration, functioning more like a lead digital collage. In terms of instrumentation, “Soda Lake With Game Genie” is the most conventional cut, incorporating live drums and harsh vocal stretches that follow a semblance of a pattern. However, even those heady six-and-a-half minutes are a remarkably fluid piece, interspersing unexpected stretches of saxophone and blast beats that seem to materialize before our eyes.
This willingness to completely abandon traditional notions of narrative structure and movement is what makes I won’t be using body eyes today. such a unique and challenging beast. “Vedic Software Wet Interface” is a violent digital malfunction, an advanced machine that collapses in on itself and spits out glitchy interruptions of harsh screams and intricate bass lines. “Jhana + Bhakti Sphere” is the most linear track on the EP, but even this one delights in fracturing its lush techno beats with abrupt bass drops and distorted breaks to its calculated momentum.
I won’t be using body eyes today. will probably be too far-fetched a proposition for many listeners. It requires a willingness to completely suspend previous notions regarding the maximalist limits of music and surrender to the deconstructed sensibilities of Fire-Toolz. However, for those with an open mind and an eye to the future, this EP is a tantalizing precognition of a world where all art and culture operates within these stylistic boundaries, or lack thereof. The notion of identity, whether musical, personal or political, is becoming more and more malleable and fragmented. In the words of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, “the self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities”.