Daniel Nebiat Sealitya Adey

Toronto, ON's premier krar (Eritrean harp/lute) player, Daniel Nebiat has released a strong follow-up to his debut. The production has a greater unity of live and electronic elements. However, let's be clear: this album is largely electronically driven, even though there's a strong folkloric base. But what programming! Nebiat's dulcet vocals weave hypnotic, free-floating melodies within the interlocking, spiralling 6/8 rhythms. Moreover, Nebiat's pentatonic singing is given a fascinating twist with fairly prominent Auto-tune use. Its robotic qualities and Nebiat's love for wah-wah on his jangly-sounding axe create a dreamy feel throughout, especially on songs like "Hziety Kuni," which just keeps twisting into an unfathomable groove. The biggest question for most people will be the choice of lead synth sounds. If you are a recent convert to the indie-cheese sonics provided by the Keytar or '80s Casio synths, you'll enjoy those sounds here. If you believe that "synth" should never be followed by "flute," then this may appeal less. But, most importantly, on its own terms, this record should establish Nebiat as one of the leading African musicians working in Toronto and follow its predecessor's success in Eritrea. (Independent)