1666 by Keltia (Li Mohe Music)

Sylvan Frédérique, Belgian singer/harpist Keltia, clad in seaweed, ivy, moss, fins, webbed/shell claws, evokes a Celtic seamerrow, Greek siren or French Melusine, hinting at alluring danger pervading the mer-archetype. Keltia never disappoints. Her voice & harp immerse us in seclusion: paradoxical hybrid of Enya & Jarboe (The Swans).

Hard to find a more eerie opening than #1 Judas! #2 Cassandra delves into harp-plucked trad tunes, hearkening to Keltia’s debut Si-Ren. Other instruments are violins (electric, acoustic), claviers by Cecile Gonay; bass & percussion by Franck Marchand. #4 Une Fee dans une Lanterne is faerielike with music-box bells as in Bjork’s ethereal Vespertine. Electro/trip-hop as in #5 Broceliande calls to mind such eclectic bands as The Moors, Gjillarhorn, Nehl or Sigur Ros. Les Lotophages #8 carries compelling rhythm and sophisticated chordal pattern. Title-track/finale feels Renaissance/Baroque; other refs include Pre-Raphaelites, Kate Bush’s haunting Never Forever, author A.S. Byatt, Mera Sangeet Kho Gaya music by Persephone of L’ Ame Immortelle, and medieval troubadour (trouvere) tales of Melusine. Questing spirit dives into Muse’s well. The album ends with a capricious thrum of harp: our watersprite elusively vanishes. Whimsical, this music dives, gasps, sighs and plunges into a nixie’s grotto.