Elusive Recordings - 2005 – 47 minutes

Every so often an electronica artist comes along that crosses the threshold of the genre's minority of regular listeners and gains a wider, coffee table-style audience. Think Moby, Zero 7, William Orbit, David Holmes, Craig Armstrong.

Beneath the surface of daytime music radio in Ireland, of course, Today FM DJ Donal Dineen has been playing this kind of music for years, and not just the popular stuff either.

And despite his recent regrettable slide down the schedule to midnight, he can still claim many devotees to this kind of new music. Enough indeed to release his own compilation, 'Small Hours', late last year; a collection of tracks from the show that is essential listening for fans of the genre.

For these people, 'Dramanalog' is probably going to be the record of 2005, and would deserve a place on a few coffee tables too. 

Using flowing repeated melodies and rhythms throughout, 'Dramanalog' plays like the soundtrack to a great holiday. 

Starting up with a train-like acoustic guitar riff, and taking in banjo and a synth choir, opener 'Come On Citron!' gets the journey underway. Likewise later on the album, 'The Abbatoir' takes a gentle but insistent driving rhythm to create the travel feel.

Elsewhere, such as on 'I Can', the mood is even sunnier. On the fittingly titled 'Solar', a dub rhythm, acoustic guitar, water sounds and a trumpet lead are combined to make a bright sonic experience.

The trumpet is put to good use on other tracks too, such as 'Tigare (French Tiger') where it comes out as especially dulcet.

There are lowlights too – where vocals first come in midway through the record on 'Riversong', it almost feels like an unwelcome visitor ruining the good mood. Much of the second half of the record is darker in tone than the first also, and some tracks, 'Signets' chief among them, come off as more conventionally designed than the rest of the record.

Still, 'Dramanalog' ends strongly with the curiously titled 'Laptop Dancer' making ingenious use of a haunting, swirling synth choir track. If you're packing your bags this summer, be sure to remember to take this little treasure with you.

Bill Lehane

Tracklisting: Come On Citron! - I Can - Solar - Riversong - Tigare (French Tiger) - Signets - Mark's Tune - The Abattoir - Lonesome - Electrolooks - Laptop Dancer