On first listen, William Brittelle’s mini-album Alive in the Electric Snow Dream is a shock to the system – a relentless flood of synths, strings and saxophone, with warped vocals complemented by an artificial choir, and reprieves of lush pads and soft melodic fragments.

On each subsequent listen, the most overwhelming aspect is the extreme care he has taken in treating all the material, even at its harshest and most distorted.

Speaking to Limelight, the Brooklyn-based Grammy Award-nominated composer says that the album began to form when he drove to Fort Tilden, an abandoned army installation at the end of Queens’ Rockaway Peninsula.

William Brittelle. Photo © David A. Gray

“I really fell in love with the place; it really resonated with me. I figured out how to join an artist community out there and gain access to a studio in one of the old barracks,” Brittelle tells me over Zoom. “It’s the closest you can get to a beautiful dystopia in New York City.”

Dilapidated, rusting and overgrown, with no running water in his studio and only a space heater to keep him warm, it was...