S|INCE he’s moved to South Queensferry Ben Chatwin reckons time has slowed and space has expanded. When the tide is out he takes his dog Laika – yes, named after the space dog – for walks along the beaches of the Forth, aware of the push and pull of the moon and his place in the world.

“I’m way more aware of the nature and the elements,” the musician and composer says in a soft southern voice. “I’m definitely influenced by the bridge and by the Forth. I’m from the south coast of England and I’ve lived in London for 10 years. This is quite a big change for me moving here. Creatively everything feels a bit different.

“In London you’re on this higher frequency. Everything’s quicker. There’s all this noise and information bombarding you. I think that maybe came across in my music which was a lot more chaotic and noisy, whereas now everything feels slower and a bit more considered.

“Moving out of the city I just feel a lot smaller and a lot more aware of the world around me just doing its thing.”

Perhaps you can hear this in his new album. At the very least it’s there in the titles of the tracks. Titles like Gravitational Bodies and Standing Waves. The album itself is called Heat & Entropy. Life forces.

Chatwin’s life is here in this flat he shares with his pregnant partner Katie. His home studio, a cluttered cubby hole of wires and pedals and piano, analogue synths and computers and studio foam baffles, is a couple of rooms away. But we are now sitting in the living room, Laika at his feet, a dulcitone against the wall, the Forth Rail Bridge on show out of the window. Later he will tell me about his desire to record the sound of the bridge; the sound of the structure moving, the roar of the trains, the ambient murmur of the cars on the nearby road bridge.

Chatwin’s work operates on the fuzzy border between post rock, electronica and contemporary classical. If you were to draw a sonic Venn diagram you might find Heat & Entropy in an overlapping set alongside Vangelis, Steve Reich and maybe a fingernail of Mogwai. But in the end it remains its own thing, a thrilling enjambment of the ringing and the raging, the delicate and the distorted. It offers an ominous beauty that morphs between the still and seething. It plays as an imaginary soundtrack to a beautiful horror movie perhaps, or a sci-fi vision at the edge of comprehension. In short, I quite like it.

This is his seventh album, the second under his own name. (He previously operated under the Lovecraftian-sounding moniker Talvihorros. It’s the Finnish word for hibernation, he tells me). Chatwin sees it as a refinement of work he has done before. “It’s certainly less experimental and more concise. There was a conscious effort to bring melody to the fore.”

He started off with the idea of making an album based on strings. “I collect quite weird instruments. That’s the dulcitone that’s on the record,” he says pointing to the cabinet against the wall. “I had a few stringed instruments like a hammer dulcimer and a diddley bo and I thought let’s see what comes out with these.

“But as so often happens with whatever I set out to do the lure of throwing electronics at it and getting it in the computer and messing about with it was just too much. They’re such old traditional instruments. It’s such a contrast to make them sit in modern music.”

He explains the process as akin to sculpture or painting. “I’ll often just sit down at an instrument, get together a few chords, a melody, something that hits me on an emotional level and then record it on the computer and then anything’s fair game. I can process the hell out of it. A piano piece can become an ambient drone. Once it’s in the digital domain I think it can go in any direction. You’re just throwing stuff around and seeing what forms.”

How did we get here? Chatwin was born in Portsmouth and started playing the guitar at the age of 14. He took some lessons but once he’d learned a few chords and a couple of scales that was enough. “I’ve never been interested in technical proficiency.”

As a teenager he moved to Brighton to study and then London all the while playing in bands. Indie bands, punk bands, post rock bands, bands that aspired to be LCD Soundsystem. None of them stuck. “Initially I started making music out of frustration with bands. I think it’s incredibly hard for a band to be good and successful because everyone has to be on the same page.”

Chatwin was always the guitarist with lots of effects pedals. “I was always more interested in what I can make the guitar sound like. So it seemed quite natural for me to experiment with a computer at home. And as soon as I did that it was like ‘oh wow!’ Even just with simple software and a cheap computer you can do anything you think of.”

Influences became wider and wilder. He cites Talk Talk for the way the band conjured up an atmosphere and a complete sound world in their later records. He talks about listening to experimental music from the likes of OvO and classical minimalism. “Things like Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. That’s an absolute masterpiece.”

Even composers like Arvo Part get a namecheck. “There’s such simplicity there. But the emotional impact is so huge.”

He put out his first album in 2008 on the now-defunct Scottish label Benbecula and he carried on from there. His partner Katie is from Aberdeen and was always keen to return to Scotland. The cost of living in London kept rising, so eventually he agreed.

They moved to Edinburgh three years ago and counting. Soon after he got a commission from Calvin Klein which meant he could concentrate on his music full time. Advertising has been a useful compliment to his compositions. There is also a growing appetite for instrumental music that fuses contemporary classical and electronica. You can see it in the success of everyone from Nils Frahm to soundtrack composer Olafur Arnalds.

“Probably people are responding to film and TV soundtracks and even games soundtracks,” Chatwin explains. He himself is composing his first film soundtrack for a documentary on snowboarding.

He’s built the studio cheaply from eBay purchases. He gives me a quick guided tour. The dulcitone, which dates back to around 1800, was made in Glasgow. He bought it from the Glaswegian TV and film music composer Malcolm Lindsay. It’s a squat, stocky box of a thing that produces the ringing notes that open the album. “The idea is a portable piano. But you wouldn’t want to be gigging with this,” he laughs.

In the studio he points out the bolts and Blu-Tack he wedges inside his piano for effect. “If you put a screw in, it makes it metallic but then if you hang something off the screw, even just a piece of paper, because they vibrate, they make this ‘tisssss’ sound. I’ve even got fishing wire because I read that you can bow strings. You get a pure sustained tone.”

He turns on a synth. “This one is from 1982. The same year I was born. Still going strong even though it’s been cracked down the middle. They sound like you’re tapping into a bit of history.”

He runs his fingers over the keyboard. An ominous doomy rattle of a sound. “This one is really John Carpenteresque. It’s hard not to go very John Carpenter.”

I leave him there as the notes fade, the sonic scientist conjuring up dreamy ominous soundscapes. Outside I stand and look up at the Forth Rail Bridge, and imagine for a moment what it sounds like when it sings.

Heat & Entropy is out on Ba Da Bing Records on Friday. Ben Chatwin plays at Summerhall, Edinburgh on August 21, supporting Montreal's Suuns.