While listening to Fire-Toolz, it is very often – almost every few seconds, in fact – that I find myself asking: how’d she manage to do it? How is it that these 56k modem-like noises fit perfectly with a Chrono Trigger-adjacent melody and a black metal growl? As with Rainbow Bridge (2020), here’s music that truly feels new, whose potential resides in the wonder of seeing jewelled treasures where most see something so banal it is unworthy of attention. It is both infinite and total, a mystical perspective that in the small and insignificant finds the divine, flourishing with the glistening traces of the everyday as it ponders the colorful voids that connect our lives with what lies beyond them. Eternal Home’s collage aptly opens us up to the fact that sometimes that connection happens to sound like the heartfelt core of a Deftones song; sometimes it flows from a soft jazz fusion riff; sometimes it is the particular beeps of 16-bit videogame electronics; sometimes it is the grinding pitch of a screamo vocal.
Yet that is only one side of what makes Eternal Home such a moving listen: a mystic, after all, is also someone who reflects the divine in virtuous acts of worldly transformation. Angel Marcloid’s sheer technical prowess is tied to an adventurous talent that constantly pushes the significance of all types of musical elements beyond its limits, to a point, precisely, where entirely dissimilar styles and sounds converge. It is not that a new meaning is given, or at least not exactly, but that all possible meanings clash, stand side by side, coincide to form an endless, multitudinous fountain of meaningful becoming. At 80 minutes long, it feels like a foray into a sublime wilderness where feelings are thoughts unleashed, like a dreamscape of early 2000s aesthetic references, themselves channelled through their own early 90s elements. It is memory as kaleidoscopic mass, an undifferentiated wave that first causes paralysis – it is all too much – but then, once the bounds of reason become undone, it opens the way for intensity, for a kind of rhythmical clarity that intuitively reconstructs those aesthetics as an aesthetic of belonging. All the fragments and their infinities are, under the mystic’s experience, an expression of the essential continuities within them, and the capacity for us to share in that divine link. Just like the 2000s belong to the 90s and the 2020s belong to the 2010s and the 2000s, so do we belong in this unpredictable dream-state of flux, this Eternal Home where everything is simultaneously significant and insignificant.
“Our Eternal Home is Heaven. Heaven is the ultimate reality of our shared Being, but the conscious experience of it is a state of mind (a dimension we are meant for)”, states Marcloid in the liner notes, explaining that “it has nothing to do with the afterlife or religious theology.” Listening to Eternal Home, I thought about the ages-old idea about the un-representability of the divine, and how this music captures that abstraction only to make an experimental attempt not to represent but to express that otherworldly quality. Its abstraction is the cutting up of various musical realities, a collage that should not sound this good by virtue of the considerable differences between its elements, and yet melts into something that appears to have definite form but truly doesn’t. The seams are there for all to listen to, the dissonances allowed to bloom into beautiful noise explosions, the harmonies spreading afterwards like nuclear fallout. The density of Fire-Toolz’ work, in other words, is transparent, but its transparency is, simply put, also mystifying. The excessive, stimulant overload of this music leads not to a world beyond our own but straight into its bowels, made of the same substance as everything we deem commonplace, perhaps even unsuitable for close consideration, from nu-metal to new age to soft music to emo to cat videos to computer file names to videogame console startup jingles, and so on and so forth towards infinity.
There’s something worth repeating about this music that is extremely rare and should not be taken lightly: it does sound new. Not in the avant-garde way that means it sounds completely alien, but that it retains something purely inexplicable at its core. There might be words to describe it, and surely better writers than myself will find them, but I firmly believe that they do not belong to the realm of music writing, but to the realm of words people use to talk to their loved ones and animal companions, or to the playfulness of inside jokes and meanings known only to a few close relationships – the realm of words that tie each of our infinities together, not as one, but as a formless, chaotic multitude. Eternal Home sounds like an everyday ritual, with all its joys, griefs, and contentments, a jewel that is also just a rock, precious solely because it’s there, and nothing more. (David Murrieta Flores)