When she first emerged on Tokyo's bedroom producer scene in 2011, Sapphire Slows shot to prominence almost instantly, scoring a release on voguish Los Angeles label Not Not Fun mere months after starting out. A full-length album, "Allegoria," followed on the same label in late 2013; and then, like the will-'o-the-wisp vocals that haunted her early work, she seemed to drift off into the ether.

This year has seen the first significant new material from the producer, born Kinuko Hiramatsu, since "Allegoria." First came "The Role of Purity" EP, released on Berlin-based imprint Nous Disques in March — a selection of hypnotic ambient instrumentals in which vocals take a back seat to crystalline synthesizers and delicate, chiming percussion.

On the mini-album "Time," which comes out this week on London label Kaleidoscope, Hiramatsu showcases a different persona. Where once she employed her voice as a textural element in her music, here it takes a more central role, with clearly defined melodies and discernible lyrics. Compared to the murky sonics of her older material, the sound is bright and crisp, like a hazy image pulling into sharper focus.