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Nonlocal Forecast - "Bubble Universe!" | Album Review


by Patrick Pilch (@pratprilch)

Last year’s US Weekly quietly clamors for attention as a 3rd party Dreamcast controller sits untouched, repelling players with its snot encrusted B-button. Pale and purpled bodies bask in the yellowed fluorescence of the windowless waiting room, its occupants mocked by the bright placidity of The Weather Channel’s Local on the 8s. Bottom lines and sidebars be damned, I’ll take my weather unmuted and my AC blasted, thanks. Two-thirty into “Celestial Nervous System” and the group finds their groove. Dang, bring a tear to my air-dried eyes. Killer bassline, a dangle-earring prog-octopus for a drummer and that solo - they didn’t have to but they did. Bubble Universe! rules.

It’s been four months since Nonlocal Forecast’s Hausu Mountain debut and picking the right words to describe its brilliance has become nearly impossible. As the sidestep project of Fire-Toolz’ Angel Marcloid, Nonlocal Forecast showcases the Chicago-based producer’s remarkably deft hand in electronic novelty on Bubble Universe! With a guitar, keyboard and laptop, Marcloid fuses jazz and new age, crafting electro-prog pieces that tread in the wake of vaporwave’s over-saturation and revel in ASMR’s mainstream breakthrough. The record unfurls with each spin, placing an emphasis on nostalgia and tranquility that offer an experience for both active and passive listening.

Bubble Universe! is a lot of things. It’s charming and effervescent, nuanced and meditative. It’s also a very personal record, capable of evoking specific emotions that scrape against the listener’s subconscious, producing a vague familiarity through its conceptual incubation and fantastically vivid execution. Bubble Universe! is the title screen music you always skipped but caught on your second play-through. It’s like top-tier improv stock music. It’s the technicolor dystopia that is Mission Impossible 2's final scene (mute and full screen MI2). Bubble Universe! peels away at a perceptible veil of tangible nostalgia and synthetic repose, partly becoming a distillation of the Internet’s newfound relationship with calm. Nonlocal Forecast’s debut is fully immersive, undoubtedly singular and highly satisfying.