Nonlocal Forecast — Bubble Universe! (March 1, 2019)
♦ „Bubble Universe!“ odstraňuje slupky hraného chladu, kdykoli slyšíme elektroniku. Činí tak se znatelným závojem hmotné nostalgie a syntetického odpočinku a částečně se stává destilací nově objevené relace internetu ke klidu. Debut „Nonlocal Forecast“ je plně pohlcující, nepochybně singulární a vysoce uspokojivý. Album se rozevírá každou další rotací, klade důraz na nostalgii a klid, což nabízí zážitek pro aktivní i pasivní poslech.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Album release: March 1, 2019
Record Label: Hausu Mountain
01. Celestial Nervous System 5:52
02. Planck Lengths 4:05
03. Cloud~Hidden 2:09
04. The Direct Path 4:01
05. Triangular Format (feat. Fire~Toolz) 2:49
06. The Evolutionary Game 4:20
07. Classical Information 2:18
08. Foam, Vacuum, Om 4:59
09. Conscious Agent Combos 4:29
10. Wave Nature 4:01
↵ Nonlocal Forecast is Angel Marcloid on the keyboard, guitar, and laptop.
↵ Mastered by Patrick Klem.
↵ Art by Max.
by Miles Bowe
MARCH 20 2019, Score: 7.8
♦ A new project from the Chicago vaporwave maven eases off the aggression of her Fire~Toolz alias, finding new inspiration in the clash of new age, smooth jazz, prog rock, and video~game soundtracks.
♦ Chicago multi~instrumentalist Angel Marcloid has become one of vaporwave’s most fearless daredevils, merging seemingly incompatible sounds into mutant fusions that push the genre to new places while maintaining its taste~eradicating post~internet power. She did this first under a gang of pseudonyms, often on her pioneering labels Rainbow Bridge and Swamp Circle, but hit a bullseye with Fire~Toolz, a potent cocktail of dazed Muzak, noise, and happy hardcore spiced with the occasional hissed black~metal vocal. After refining that project with two albums on Hausu Mountain, another Chicago haven for the weird and wonderful, Marcloid returns as Nonlocal Forecast with Bubble Universe!, a new project inverting Fire~Toolz’s crackling aggression with the help of aquatic new~age synths, smooth jazz, and prog rock.
♦ As Fire~Toolz, Marcloid made her knack for impossible genre combinations feel like a rollercoaster, but Nonlocal Forecast subtly accomplishes a harder task. It flies through ideas but builds track by track with purposeful progression, and it only gets better once the initial thrills wear off and you learn its trajectory. With Bubble Universe!, Marcloid spreads her ideas out like a rainbow, encapsulating everything in a seamless spectrum from hot to cool. It’s a perfect introduction to what already feels like her best project.
♦ Bubble Universe! explodes with gleefully clashing ideas from the start, opening with dramatic synth flourishes and dizzying drum patterns on “Celestial Nervous System,” a tightrope walk between jazzy prog and proggy jazz. Though Marcloid is programming drums on a computer rather than playing live, her background as a prog~rock drummer translates to fills that feel both spontaneous and mathematically dazzling. The result hijacks the soothing soundtrack of the Weather Channel and charges it with metal’s cathartic energy, a combination that only grows on the following “Planck Lengths,” which echoes the ornate MIDI symphonies of James Ferraro’s vaporwave blueprint Far Side Virtual before a sprawling drum solo takes it to light speed.
♦ By the third song, the brightly emotive burst of “Cloud~Hidden,” Bubble Universe! has crystallized this sound so fully that it feels natural when Marcloid largely leaves it behind for the rest of the album. “The Direct Path” slams the brakes with a spacious synth melody and a luxurious guitar solo that only grows softer and sweeter as it lands on delicate percussion far removed from the opening tracks’ energy. On “Triangle Format,” Marcloid’s Fire~Toolz moniker makes a featured appearance, but here she eschews that project’s metal vocals in favor of a rush of synths and distant coos that carry Nonlocal Forecast into its contrasting second half.
♦ Drifting further from the metal influences sparking the album’s early tracks, “The Evolutionary Game” and “Classical Information” shine like some of the most distinct video~game music of the 1990s. The former rides a simple 4/4 beat with twinkling synths and a middle section that nods to David Wise’s naturalistic soundscapes in Donkey Kong Country, while the latter’s jazzy MIDI lines and funky bass synths create a kind of synesthestic accompaniment for imaginary Sonic the Hedgehog levels. It all leads to a closing trio of tracks as soothing and ambient as the beginning was kinetic. They make a powerful bookend for Bubble Universe!’s impressive range and focus, as well as a welcome invitation to hit replay and start the game all over again.
♦ The music that Chicago~based producer/composer Angel Marcloid makes under the new moniker Nonlocal Forecast distills her experimentation in the prog, jazz fusion, and new age disciplines into pristine instrumental compositions teeming with intricate harmonic structures and complex webs of programmed percussion. Orbiting as another satellite around her genre~obliterating flagship projects like Fire~Toolz and MindSpring Memories, Nonlocal Forecast centers Marcloid’s practice on a palette of technical leads and atmospheric MIDI synth arrangements. For the project’s debut album Bubble Universe!, Marcloid drew inspiration from her personal studies in quantum physics/mechanics and non~dual spirituality. These frameworks steer her toward a strain of micro/macrocosmic composition in which the granular unfurling of rhythms and melodic elements evoke the movement of celestial bodies as much as subatomic particles on the smallest scale.
♦ Bubble Universe! finds Marcloid emulating the format of a live ensemble, painstakingly programming each instrument in DAW software without the use of samples. Marcloid’s tiered systems of digital synth patches, modeled exclusively after the Korg M1 and the Korg Wavestation, interact in waves of steadily chiming pulses and chordal washes before streaking off into climaxes of melodic hands~on~keyboard input. Her meticulously programmed percussion tracks attest to her experience drumming in prog rock bands as they flow through interlaced time signatures, syncopated hard grooves, and rapid~fire tom fills. In contrast to her network of synthetic voices, Marcloid’s moments of guitar pyrotechnics burst out of the mix with fluid lead picking and searing distortion. With this composite of digital and analog instruments, Nonlocal Forecast sketches out a style of progressive composition that runs adjacent to the work of Allan Holdsworth and Casiopea. When her arrangements shed layers of legible melody in favor of drifting synth expanses, her tracks melt into the realm of ambient or new age music in the spirit of Jonn Serrie or Steve Halpern. Slowly modulating electronic voices build and smear together into fields of sound equally fit to soundtrack cosmological documentary footage or periods of mind~focusing meditation. Born from Marcloid’s lofty thematic frameworks centered on both outer and inner spaces, Bubble Universe! channels the emotion and wide~eyed fascination at the heart of any number of progressive musical styles into some of her most accessible and elementally entrancing compositions to date. Nonlocal Forecast exists in a state of quantum superposition between states of electronic complexity and self~nullifying synth drift, as each of her tracks peers through the glass to observe a particle in position for a moment before moving on to the next trial. Website: https://www.angelmarcloid.com/bio