Unsound attendees may have caught Colin Self’s performance of Siblings at this year’s festival. A frequent collaborator with Holly Herndon, Self’s music is experimental-celebratory, and grounded by the joy of group experiences of singing and listening. It is shatteringly contemporary; a multi-layered, unwieldy beast.

The Oregon-born artist takes a maximalist approach to composition, blending complex vocal harmonies and lush ambient landscapes with shatteringly heavy beats and bent, almost broken samples. His latest album - the sixth part of the operetta series Elation – recalls contemporaries including Perfume Genius, Amnesia Scanner and Moor Mother, infusing his sonic scatology with science fiction and explorations of family networks. If you have the time to dive headlong into it, multiple listens will pay copious, oddball rewards.

The album is not so much lopsided as sonically encircling. Its first third, featuring ‘Survival’ and ‘Foresight’, could be Sigur Rós outtakes; grandiose, overwrought chamber pop confections with glistening synths, beautifully reaching vocal arrangements and untreated percussion. The opening tracks feel like nostalgic evocations of a dying world that Self’s characters are being forced away from. Self has described the album’s narrative as following a non-standard family unit coming together on an alien world that is slowly decaying. Community and the tension provided by implicit pressures to conform are a recurrent theme in his work.

The second act descends (or ascends, depending on your point of view) into animalistic, exploded territory. The fact that he moves from epic pop to Autechre (and then back again) in the space of a few minutes illustrates the ambition of the work. It can also lay a strain on the flow of the record as a whole. Some listeners may feel left behind. Those that hang on will reach the catharsis of ‘Emblen’; ‘Stand together / as a family / developing vocabulary / understanding my role in arranging the sequence to reveal to others another experience’. With its celebration of community and difference, the track acts as the moral compass for the album as a whole.

‘Transitions’ moves back into poetic, exploded territory. Self’s beats are as triumphantly random as his poetry, and the composer is wise to keep most of the more full-on tracks well below 5 minutes in length, making the shattering glass noises and primal screaming more palatable by their novelty. One sound that cuts through as clearly as any is laughter; at life, at opportunity, at the ridiculous beauty and weirdness of it all.

Siblings is not an easy listen, but it is a fantastically varied one. Self is at his most compelling when he is contrasting anarchic beats and chopped up vocals with more standard pop composition. It may take me another few dozen listens to fully understand the structure of Colin Self’s new album. That can only be to his credit.