Patrick Watson’s new album has one of the softest openings you will hear this year. Nearly 10 seconds of silence — or what sounds like it, anyway — give way to spectral electronic ambience layered with a delicate wash of piano, and then Watson’s warm, malleable voice. The title track eases you in to an otherworldly place, where melodies float like smoke rings and Watson glides over his notes like a phantom presence. Simply put, “Love Songs for Robots” is gorgeous. It’s also mysterious; it doesn’t reveal all its layers on first listen. It requires, and invites, you to spend time with the Canadian singer-songwriter’s ruminations on what it means to feel and process emotion. (The album’s title alludes to the fact that emotion is what separates us from machines.) Glowing with a hint of R&B, “Know That You Know” is seven minutes of sublime seduction. You’ll wish it never ended. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Know That You Know”
Patrick Watson will perform at the Sinclair in Cambridge on May 30, with the Low Anthem opening.James Reed can be reached at email@example.com.