Atobe's album was so enchanting when it appeared last year because it seemed to exist out of time. On the one hand, it was excavated electronic music from a bygone era, but on the other, it didn't sound like much that came before or after. Ship-Scope has the same slate-grey aura, though its fizzing dub techno synths place it more clearly in the lineage of Chain Reaction. The record's first half is given over to shorter, more experimental tracks: the aqueuous (and beatless) title track features chords that surface like froth on ocean waves. There's a serenity to the way Atobe's chords wander across the empty space that should resonate with new age aficionados.
From there, the tunes get more direct. "Plug And Delay" builds a patiently lapping rhythm, with a lead that splashes around the sparse framework. Then "Rainstick" turns to straight-up techno, but it only lasts for a minute and a half. If "Rainstick" is tragically brief, then "The Red Line," taking up all of the flipside, more than makes up for it. This is Ship-Scope's "Butterfly Effect," a quietly epic techno anthem that stretches out to infinity with elegance and finesse. The bleary melody smears across its foundation, like watching rain trickle down an apartment window. World-weary, sad yet oddly uplifting, "The Red Line" conveys a certain kind of emotion vague enough to feel universal yet distinct enough to overwhelm you. This seems to be Atobe's peculiar gift.