Inwards is the moniker of Kristian Shelley, a modular synth manipulator and multi-instrumentalist who, after a brief sojourn living in Brighton, has returned to his Worcestershire roots, where he now operates out of a log cabin-slash-studio. The first fruits of this setup are collected on Diesel, Shelley’s debut album as Inwards – which, despite its rural birthplace, is more often a satisfying mix of both the mechanical and the pastoral. Shelley uses an austere, yet effective, electronic palette to carve thirteen tracks that each feel like different attempts at reconciliation between his leafy surroundings and the industrial noises that permeated his youth – he cites the machine sounds of his father’s workshop as one of the key influences on Diesel.

That sonic conversation is most vividly played out on the sparkling lead single ‘When She Flashes Her Smile on Me’, which deploys an ear-friendly melody as cover for a pleasingly abstract splatter of beats. This combination of affability and experimentation calls to mind the ‘poppier’ moments of Aphex Twin’s back catalogue (think ‘minipops 67 [120.2]’ from Syro), and its bounce evokes Darkstar’s 2010 glitch-step masterpiece ‘Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer’ – both fine watermarks to aim for. Elsewhere, ‘Ican Culture’ fuses what sounds like a sampled jazz drum and cymbal pattern paired with desolate elongated synth washes, and opener ‘Amsterdam’ pulses with an energy somehow both benevolent and ominous – an atmosphere so often felt in nature.

On a lighter note, ‘6 Taps’ brings a warm and placid moment to proceedings: another seemingly simple melodic line gradually offset by what sounds like a depressed music box, and adorned with gentle drones that could, in this manufactured landscape, perhaps be the trails left by passing planes. It is both a sweet interlude and a detour from the album’s longer and heavier passages.

Diesel is necessarily an album of contradiction – organic songwriting with digital instruments; evoking the natural with the technological. Yet crucially, it never feels like Shelley is overreaching or trying to do too much within each track; it avoids the thematic stagnation which could easily have consigned Diesel into background-music territory. Instead, it is a restless, consistently engaging set that, over 13 immersive instrumentals, establishes Shelley as an artist to look out for. His project's name may suggest introspection and isolation - but there’s no disguising that Diesel is a bold and intriguing stab at universality.