Luckily, the music housed on Marginalized Information Forms One: Ping is not negatively affected by this digital fixation. The world of machines rarely sounds this lovely and expressive. The San Diego ambient-pop group pulls off sounding both meticulous and improvisational, though never tiresome.
Songs typically begin sparely with light keyboards and build to include intricate melodies, care of thoughtfully-used guitar work and synthesized strings. Aspects of Physics attempt to make digital music seems humanistic through careful consideration of song structure, changing melodies and directions dramatically mid-song. Like their French brethren in M83, one of the easiest ways they pull this off is by embracing the guitar (or keyboards that sound like guitar.) The guitar work on Marginalized Information consists of clean, exploratory notes a la Pinback (whose Rob Crow guests in the band). This pulls the band away from heady IDM doldrums and into more mainstream territory. Mum and Radiohead come to mind more often then, say, Aphex Twin.
Save for a few short, surprisingly colorless transitory songs, each song finds its own niche without making the album lose fluidity. “Ping” and “Neutrino” begin the album on a high note with long, serpentine explorations into technological melancholy. “QQ47” beeps like a siren but unexpectedly reaches a scenic climax in the end. Similarly, the album’s closer, “Scene of Changery,” suddenly introduces live drums and post-rock theatrics to end things gloriously. Marginalized Information ultimately doesn’t do anything new, buts its potential to please fans of both guitar-based and electronic music is immense.