Elusive Recordings - 2004 - 79 minutes

The media might be feasting on the carcass of clubland, but someone forgot to tell the electronica fans. The genre that defies description is going from strength to strength. The domestic scene is thriving, helped by Donal Dineen's nightly championing on the national airwaves, so it's not so surprising to come across a high-quality Irish compilation like 'Eklectra'.

There have been a lot of releases that have attempted to take the temperature of electronic music in Ireland, but most have been wildly uneven. 'Eklectra' might embrace different styles but an eye has been kept on the quality control.

Jimmy Behan's meditative and melodic 'A Normal Situation' is a good choice as opener, showing strong progression from his earlier releases, though the 'love it or hate it' vocoder could alienate some listeners.

Halfset's contribution is in a similar vein with retro bleeps and warm percussion conjuring up a lush atmosphere while the intense chords of Schtat's 'My Country Blues' create a widescreen effect.

John Lambert's Chequerboard project is well represented by 'Konichiwa', where the Peace Bell in Hiroshima is looped as a foundation for the luscious guitar work familiar to anyone who has heard his ace 'Gothica' album.

There's a few bum notes here and there, but 'Eklectra's moments of digital magic make it the best local electronic compilation yet.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Jimmy Behan: A Normal Situation - Townparks Foundry: Theme from Townparks Foundry - Illegal Kids: It's For You - Halfset: Noodles Now - Stereo Nimrod: Sanded Sealed Varnished - Ebauche: PBX - Schtat: My Country Blues - Leonids: Rose Location - Chequerboard: Konichiwa - Merlot: Reclaim Palestine - Thalamus: Alphabet - Herv: Box Enthusiast - Psy: wMw - Colurfast: Rooted Suited - Formika v MJX: Bloodrush - Roytron: Sports Department - Murmansk: Skywide & Crooked - Somadrome: Variable Reluctance - Felix Rex: Hoovering Up The Popcorn - Eddie Rocket: Guitar Symphony - Bill Nelson: Blazing Memory of Innuendo