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Rainbow Bridge Cal Cashin , June 16th, 2020 08:29

On Rainbow Bridge, Chicago's Fire-Tools says goodbye to a beloved pet

The marimba tannoy tones on the Tokyo Metro, unique at every station. The hiss of the winter elements beating down on a Scandinavian log cabin. The fizz of surf against a Sunseeker yacht on the Côte d’Azur. On the three-way crossroad between these seemingly disparate elements, Fire-Toolz is parked up.

Under her Fire-Toolz alias, Angel Marcloid has consistently confronted contrast, thriving as components become more and more disparate. However, on her latest album Rainbow Bridge, she tackles a very universal feeling of tumult with her very singular music.

Rainbow Bridge is dedicated to the Chicago producer’s bashful late cat Breakfast, her favourite of several cats. The album is a hallucinogenic musical escape from grief, and a fitting goodbye. Breakfast crops up on several previous Fire Toolz tunes, most notably 2017’s 'Spirit Spit’, and Rainbow Bridge is as fitting a farewell as any to a beloved pet.

In a recent Chicago Reader interview, she said: “[the Rainbow Bridge is] somewhere our pets either cross when they die to go to the other side, or they go there and they wait for us." Here, through maximalist visions, we’re taken to the titular folkloric location, through musical contrasts and clashes that simply cannot be of this world. It is more than just a long goodbye to an old friend, however, it’s a genuinely fresh and arresting album.

Whilst so much music aims for a ‘timeless’ quality, Rainbow Bridge’s reverential maximal sound can only be a product of the now. As kitsch vaporwave and uneasy ambientialism combine with a venomous black metal hiss, we encounter musical brilliance in a league of its own.

‘Gnosis Ozing’ is the album’s opener; hell-scorched guitar squeals meet barrages of drum fury, a real guttural freak out. Beneath the firestorm, a playful synth sound akin to an old PC starting up strolls into the background. The catharsis of the opener rolls into ‘It’s Now Safe to Turn Off Your Computer’, a vibrant slice of digital tropicalia with Marcloid’s screams occasional, and thus the template is laid down for the rest of the album.

Very much a product of a post-internet musical climate, but unlike web-influenced contemporaries, Marcloid’s music never glitches. Instead, Rainbow Bridge is crystal clear in its musical ideas, sometimes powerful, and often beautiful. ‘Ever-Widening Rings’ melds a thrash-metal drum heartbeat with some sun-soaked marimba tones; at six winding minutes, it's somewhat of an odyssey touching upon vaporwave and city-pop as it ebbs and flows.

Fire-Toolz’ total mangling of genre is fantastic. The album doesn’t sit still for a second; Rainbow Bridge is a constant stream of ideas, all presented at a fairly high speed. Be that the erupting fusions of metal and pop, meditative chiming sound collages, or the wealth of things in-between, this album is unique, and maximal in its scope.

Grief itself is far more complex than sadness, and through a mixture of malignant fury, tranquil electronic meditations and wild invention, Angel Marcloid gives her favourite pet a wonderful musical elegy.