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Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace)



Liam Murphy

August 23, 2019

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

The album begins with mailto:spasm@swamp.god?subject=Mind-Body Parallels. Spasmodic synth hits firing out into a cold, robotic atmosphere conveyed by jittering hi-hats…

The album begins with mailto:spasm@swamp.god?subject=Mind-Body Parallels. Spasmodic synth hits firing out into a cold, robotic atmosphere conveyed by jittering hi-hats and a damp reverb. A bassline is injected behind it all, giving the proceedings a guide-rope upon which to travel along. Delightfully dramatic tom drums cascade into each break. A voice appears, powerful and dark, oxidising upon immediate impact with its surroundings. The range of styles is infallible. Metal-infused double bass hits and screaming vocals beg for their guitar counterparts only to find a clean riff not unlike Masayoshi Takanaka patronising their destructive force. Somehow the song does have a definitive structure, but it certainly indicates to the listener what to suspect from the album as a whole. This will not be four to the floor and a comfortable trip home. Towards the end, the heavier elements do engulf proceedings, with all other genres conceding to the power invested in them. A heavy, unrelenting sonic blast sees us through to the end.

Clear Light infiltrates with a chirping sound. The sound of what can only described as aluminium rain fills the scene. Once again, Fire-Toolz flicks through genres in a brief, channel-hopping manner before bringing us back to where we were. Feedback reigns, something is stirring before us, trying to find some sort of sentience. A slippery motif emanates towards us from deep in the depths of the soundscape. The melody is honest and beautiful, a man speaks and we feel as though we are locating some sort of solid structure to follow. Not the case. We fall through the floor as if it were lace, and writhe once again in the apocalyptic feedback that is always looming on the periphery of each track. Screens jar themselves into life, we hear muzak being pulled out of its shape, absorbed by this great sonic force. All that seems to happen is incidental. We are trapped in a vortex controlled by something chaotic. But then all of a sudden, as the title would have you believe, a ray of light emits from a gap in the cold metallic landscape. Of course, as soon as it begins, the darker entity fights against it for supremacy. And for around a minute, a tremendous battle ensues. The warmth and security of the pad is undeniable. It’s as if that same comforting, preternatural force present in a myriad of great songs from Grace Jones to George Clanton floats in to save us. Yet the sickening monster that has been created fires everything it has in a hope to extinguish the synth. Thankfully, this behemoth of cold noise does not emerge victorious. And the melodic elements of the song even seem to do a little showing off towards the end in the form of a light trill. Warmth seeps in. A beautifully lead guitar leads us down a rainbow pathway. At points, that screaming anger tries to get through but it is once again restrained by the enlivening elements of the instrumentation. Fire-Toolz let’s the two elements created do battle, resulting in our absolute astonishment.

She Was Me, My Name Was Surrounded starts with a whining synth bending it’s way around large corners, it groans under an invisible force. An arpeggiated synth creates a blanket for the listener to rest on. Once again, a metal-inspired guitar chimes in, its power galvanising the melody into life. The clearing opens for a minute, and the glittering instrumentation stretches onwards towards the sun. Guitar notes reach into eternity, the whole track breathes a sonic optimism. There is never any doubt that the creator is completely in control of the elements at play within, bewildering as that fact may be.

Whistling disappears down dark, endless wells as another machine flutters near us in the track The Warm-Body (A Blessing & Removal). A hybrid of natural sound and creaking robotics begins to try and walk, a myriad of small motifs falling from it as it does. Impossible to follow in any detailed manner, the instrumentation purposely shirks us as it descends from abstract ambience to explicitly jarring shifts in instrumentation and tone. It’s as if we are listening to Frankenstein’s sewn-together limbs beginning to fuse into a singularity, the fragments of sound absorb one another effortlessly. Over halfway through the song finds a steady, menacing rhythm. At points in the album it’s hard not to envision a spandex-clad drummer with a neon headband driving that dramatic, 80s percussion as everything around them constantly shifts and changes. At the very end of the song, a numb, descending scale of notes lulls us to sleep.

A rising, almost optimistic tune plays out in April Snowstorm (Idyllic Mnemonic). As if a flurry of snow is simultaneously rising and falling in front of the listener. This light tune then turns to wobbling bass, with a delayed synth following after it. Notes collide, crystal tones begin to sound like percussion. A cosmic saxophone erupts through the chaos. A panpipe blows a glistening melody. The landscape created in front of us is sublime without the need for endless echoes or large, slow-moving pads. We move with the artist with an air of cautious, timid optimism. Overdriven guitar notes erupt like volcanoes around us. Heavy bass sees us through and we are left with the roar of guitars.

Disjointed notes guide us into the B side of the album with Hologram Of A Composite (World Of Objects). The notes create an eerie atmosphere seemingly caught in some flurry of the elements. The way the breathy pad behind hangs there seems to communicate that we are floating at some height. Dramatic percussion erupts as we break through the clouds. Fire-Toolz’s amazing ability to create a drum sequence that is some parts real, some parts calculated and robotic is on full show. The instrumentation follows along as best it can, twirling, proggy melodies blast forward. The recognisable guitar moans from the back of the soundscape. As the drums cease, we are welcomed into a choir-led euphoria.

✓ BEiNG’s melody floats in, the intricacies within hidden by the intense cloud cover of resonance and reverb. Birds sing, water moves and flows around us. A bouncing synth stakes a claim to the song’s narrative. It’s evident melody and evocative texture cuts through the natural scene that plays out before us. The drums bloom once again, a screaming voice counterpoints the floating instrumentation of before. Through chaos, we are led to a beautiful synth that holds steady. A more stalwart version of the bouncy one from the start. Every instrument, every part is in constant flux, affected by one another as Fire-Toolz creates this wonderfully fragile environment of sound. A guitar fades in, alternating through a whirlwind of notes. A gurgled voice strives to communicate something but is lost to a watery cave of noise. The screaming voice heralds the charge once again, as the percussion falls on top of us like stalagmites. The power in the voice is incredibly moving every time. It’s a wonder that such a voice can exist in such a project, but the sounds produced are so multi-faceted it would almost be foolish for it not to appear. Calming bells drifting on a breeze ring out toward the close.

The short track Fluids Come Together & The ‘I Am’ Appears pops and beeps it’s way into sentience. Slippery, distorted sounds weasel their way across the stereo field. The recognisable, emotive melodies creep in, but are snatched as the song changes tact completely. A sensation that we are starting to get used to. We must go wherever we are shown. The path that you think you are going down can close on you very swiftly. It ends with a flurry of saxophone, guitar and synthesisers.

The Pain-Body (Wild Energy Spheres)’s sublime pads seem to appear from out of nowhere with a sense of depth and longing that has underwritten most of the proceedings up to this point. A heavy, rhythmic melody jumps in, unlike anything we’ve heard thus far. The sounds around it quiver with uncertainty, how can they find a growing point? How can they locate that sticking place from which they can spin and dance like they have done in previous tracks? They break off into a heavy random melody that sits between us and the beat, claiming dominance for a few seconds, before the drums dash it to the side once again. The whole scene fractures at the very end, fragments of bass and trumpet jar the listener in the remaining seconds of sound.

Eyewitness Meadow Flyover introduces a truly beautiful, delicate melody line played by a plucked string instrument. Reaching both high and low in equal measure, never too fragile, never too tough. The moving bass sequence that comes into support it gives it a beautiful emotional structure to follow. The two chug along together, unaffected by any distorted assailants or heavy-handed drums. An honest and graceful journey that takes us from optimism to loneliness and back again. It slowly leaves us as dissonant cymbals creep inwards.

The very last track Smiling at Sunbears Grooming In Sunbeams seems to congratulate us for remaining avid listeners, despite the tributary obstacles put in our way. The synth, though lacking palpable thickness, is triumphant and emotive. A huge synth line appears from the holographic clouds, trilling and whining as it dances in the sunlight created by the track. The screaming voice appears again and battle commences. The ethereal Sega Rally-esque melody tries to dodge the roaring horror of the vocals. It’s tone becomes more explorative, it’s rhythm increases as begins to take off under its own volition. Bass drums pound, the screaming voice somehow latches onto the flying melody. It feels as though we are watching the final boss battle of some button-mashing Square Enix game. One final blast of sound, until with fizzling distortion, the tension is released. Curious sounds off a small animal can be heard toward the end as the brain struggles to conjugate the journey it has been on. Should we feel positive? Should we feel as though the light has bested the dark? Was there even a struggle between them? Or was this just two sides to the same entity, each allowed time to breathe?

In the world of Fire-Toolz, nothing is sacred or solid. Tracks ooze an undeniable purity only to shatter into fractal chaos at any given point. Solid tones lose their strength within a mere second, becoming amorphous, flailing foolishness. So many different stimuli are channelled into the creation of these tracks that its hard not to be overwhelmed. But in Field Whispers (Into The Crystal Palace) lies a project that implores you to explore it again and again. The bedrock of sound being conveyed must give way to answers, as to what overarching emotions drive the creation of such music. Enjoyable and rewarding to the last.

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