The sound of this album can be summed up nicely by the name under which Jimy SeiTang chose to record his latest venture. The Psychic Ills man has crafted a 6-song set of hazy, gauzy electronica that is spacious and repetitive, yet also filled with darkness. It's hypnotic-sounding at times, with the listener able to lose themselves within the fragile melodies and cavernous drones, but underneath the simple rhythms and warm ambience that creeps through at times, lies a tension that starts as something negligible, but soon becomes inescapable, lurking in the shadows in a vaguely threatening way. It's confident and airy, yet dark and foreboding; hence, Stygian Stride. Thrill Jockey have always prided themselves on having a diverse roster, and SeiTang's latest work is difficult to pin down at times, taking the repetitive nature of krautrock, the wooziness of psychedelia, that ethereal quality found in ambient works, and much more besides.

The listener should not let themselves be fooled by the brevity of the tracklisting: SeiTang is quite comfortable with stretching out these tracks, and as a result, quite a few of the songs are six minutes long. However, this never really becomes an issue. It's all quite accessible, with the ambient wash of 'Hindsight' establishing itself as an early highlight, and 'Drift's' gently pattering beat giving it a sense of urgency that's backed up by the oscillating, lawnmower-like rumbling bass that holds the track together, letting its infectious melody, well, drift over the top in a slightly menacing manner. There's that tension again: SeiTang uses it in a borderline cinematic manner, but there's never any real resolution, particularly not on that track, which comes crashing to a halt after four-and-a-half minutes. It's like this whole album could be used to soundtrack part of an Alfred Hitchcock film - I know the idea is anachronistic in itself, but the tension is unbearable at times, which brings to mind some of the master of suspense's finest work.

In general, there is a filmic quality to much of the material on Stygian Stride, but what ensures that it has the desired impact is the simple yet astonishingly direct melodies that SeiTang employs. In this context, 'Athanor Ascension' could almost pass for a pop song, and the mischievously-titled closer 'Fade Into Bolivian' has an almost Gothic choral feel to it, piling on a sense of dramatics to finish off the album in style. It's a most unexpected finale, but then again, its creator is hardly the most conventional musician going; his work in Rhyton is well worth investigation, too. He's always operated on the fringes of electronic music, but his output is always engaging, and the Stygian Stride project is business as usual, albeit only in that respect. Beyond that is an album that's compelling in its own unique way.