Lal Meri Lal Meri

California trio Lal Meri have recorded an ensemble debut album seemingly poised for worldwide lounge domination. Named after a famous Sufi chant, the trio's interpretation of which closes the album, the new project from singer Nancy Kaye, producer/remixer Carmen Rizzo and multi-instrumentalist composer Ireesh Lal finds strong trip-hop and downtempo beats mingled with Indian chants and exotic instruments of Mediterranean and subcontinent extraction. Singer Kaye's seductive lullaby vocal style carries from start to finish, as do lush sitars and tabla drums, sultry trumpets ("Borders") and smoothly selected beats and samples from Lal and Rizzo, including the latter's slyly danceable bass and funk grooves on "Sweet Love," "My Ocean" and probable singles "Rainbow" and "Take Me As I Am." With any luck, producers will take a respectful "less is more approach," rather than too many hands reaching for the overflowing remix potential of these particular standout numbers. Soulful and warm, the album's genuine sense of joyful experimentation expresses itself throughout, the touches of oud and Qawwali devotional chants from Lal's sister Pooja among the delights on this dreamy debut. (Six Degrees)