[Imputor?] Rattling software drums and gentle, spacious guitar strums open Systems of Social Recalibration, the debut of San Diego, California's Aspects of Physics. The quiet storm of that opener, "Pulse Width," proves to be as duplicitous as we are, and then it's launched into the head-spinning "Level 4.2," which at 17 minutes could comprise an EP of its own. Several well-chosen synth chords evolve achingly slowly and eventually collapse in a heap of fuzzy digital processing that evokes both Stockhausen and Autechre. "Level 4.2" is maximized minimalism that encourages the listener to don the headphones and philosophize out.
Aspects' leader Jason Soares and cohorts feel no compunction to stick to genre rules, so they may attack with Commodore 64 sound chips, massive synth-and-guitar sweeps or a robot voice intoning the weather at any given time. Each track is organized by a few key melodic ideas that are allowed to spin slowly out of control, subverted by dissonant elements that drift in and out of the track. It's so subtle that it seems garish when "s.id" begins with disccordant bleeps, but it's more an eye-opening interlude than a song.
Aspects of Physics emerged from the same San Diego post-rock/electronic punk scene that spawned The Locust and Lesser, and they wear their punk politics literally on their sleeve. Systems of Social Recalibration supplements its thought-provoking music with a booklet of essays, blurbs and set of shout-outs that reveal Aspects as a kind of plugged-in Gang of Four, mixing anti-corporate ideals with Slashdot-style tech awareness.
Rating: 3 Stars (Solid).
-- Rob Geary