After releasing a hit-or-miss compilation as one of their first efforts, the small Elusive Recordings label has really been on a nice roll with their past two releases. Jimmy Behan's Days Are What We Live In was a wistful little piece of electronic ambient music, and this release from Halfset treads ground similar to artists such as State River Widening and even the quieter side of Four Tet (or Fridge) with their electronic/organic compositions.
Opening track "Come On Citron!" starts things out on a solid step with a warm bed of picked banjo before a modestly juicy hip-hop drops and synth strings and other soft melodic elements enter. About halfway through, the track breaks off and a simple four-note melodica melody pulls the whole track back together again as it comes in for the finale. "I Can" follows with layers of electric piano and filtered mandolin while a sputtering beat again provides a servicable backbone as analog synths hum away.
"Solar" continues the string of solid tracks with a rounded-off Prefuse 73-esque beat and clipped acoustic guitars as warm layers of vibraphone rain down over it all. The track is brightened even further with a soaring trumpet that enters during the latter part of the track, taking it to yet another level. One of the only slightly frustrating things about the album is that the group seemed to stick mainly with presets in terms of their drum programming sounds themselves, giving some of their more delicate tracks a slightly clunky feel that could either be interpreted as a bit of a retro nod or simply distracting (for me, it was the latter).
That said, Dramanlog is still a highly enjoyable release from a young group who has done some outstanding things on their debut. Despite the silly name, the closing track of "Laptop Dancer" combines a fat synth bassline with a rumbling beat while layers of warm orchestra bells, looped banjo, and filtered female vocals into something quite addictive. With a wide variety of instrumentation and a great mixture of both organic and electronic elements, they've managed to create yet another unique entry in a crowded field of releases and the best release from Elusive yet.