While Ryuichi Sakamoto is still primarily known to western audiences as one-third of pioneering ’80s electro-pop outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra, the Academy Award-winning Japanese composer has taken his career in a seriously different direction this last decade. Working alongside experimental magnates like Alva Noto and Fennesz, Sakamoto has emerged, somewhat surprisingly, as one of the most valuable collaborators in the world of electronic avant-garde, gifting his cascading piano lines and ambitious soundscapes to whomever he partners with. This ongoing collaborative spirit has led to the formation of Willits + Sakamoto, his pairing with San Francisco electronic whiz Christopher Willits, for the duo’s second venture, Ancient Future. While 2007’s Ocean Fire was an undeniably dark, claustrophobic effort spiked with noise tendencies, the followup couldn’t be any more ambient. Elegant, sparse and fragile, Sakamoto’s piano serves as the focal point, with the 88 keys often heavily treated as the chord hits slowly decay into rich, floating textures. These take on a neoclassical vibe, with heavy emphasis on the drone, as string swells, jazz-styled guitar and glitched-out effects come in and out of the beat-less mix. It’s a calming, meditative listen, to be sure. It easily lulls you into submission. If there’s a flaw, it’s that Willits + Sakamoto stick firmly to their dreamy, newfound aesthetic, with each of the six tracks never breaking away from Ancient Future’s lush comfort zone. Still, it’s hard to fault the pair for wanting to continually explore such an inviting formula.