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LOKESH/Utopia: His own tastes started out in Indian electronica and Yankee guitar rock, now it has morphed into something that's not your mother's yoga music. Trance hop with goth undertones, there might not be anything new that's any better for getting high in dorm rooms than this. Clearly a wild ride on a roller coaster through a dark night that'll turn your ears inside out before it gets done with you.

NORA JANE STRUTHERS: Lofi has another champ on board as Struthers rolls out a traditional music set that's all originals but is right in the pocket throughout. With a bunch of the Nashville A team backing her up, this is an accomplished debut that might not be a contender for the sippy cup sweepstakes but is a great, meaty adult listening date that fans of singer/songwriter country will flip for. After a lot of long flies, this one is clearly hit out of the park. Check it out.

BRIAN LANDRUS/Forward: Don't let this one slip past you. Right from the opening riff, this sax man's debut just grabs you. It's not about pyrotechnics, it's about a pure after hours vibe that just seems to instantly meet all your expectations of what it would be to live in something sunnier than a Tom Waits tableaux, but not with too much sun, just with less creepy people. He doesn't have to play at 200 mph or lay homage at the feet of the greats to make his musical point. A first class tonic for jaded ears, this is a real jazzbo high point. Well done and easily deserving of one of our jaw dropping ratings.

GIANMARIA TESTA/Solo Dal Vivo: 20 years ago, this was exactly the kind of record that would be playing in store when you walked into Rizzoli and you might just easily find yourself leaving with a copy under your arm. Lofi set that seems like an Italian folk singer doing a lofi version of Charles Aznavour, it's just a man and his guitar singing in Italian sounding nothing like restaurant music. For any world beat adult ears that really want to ride the hipper than thou tip, this is mega hot stuff.

JEFFREY GROSSMAN/Cosmic Light: Composer Keith Barnard is one of the leading lights of contemporary classical. Pianist Jeffrey Grossman is DeNiro to Barnard's Scorsese. Capable of making a piano sound like an orchestra by himself, Grossman turns out these three tone poems for piano in fine style. All world premiere recordings, this is simply a smashing, ear opening set that is just as engaging in it's use of white space as it is in the notes floating by. A wide ranging, all encompassing work, this is the ear shot of the new frontier.

ANA MOURA/Leve-Me Aos Fados: Hot, young babe attracted the attention of the older fado musicians for obvious reasons, but because she brought her own spin to the music, she wound up in the company of other dinosaurs like Mick Jagger and Prince that could do her some good. The rest is almost history. One of the first fado singers that doesn't seem to be harboring Marlene Dietrich/Edith Piaf fantasies, this is a whole new sound for a new set/generation of ears. We'd call this more international pop than world beat but whatever you call it, be sure to call it top shelf. Being a purely ethnic record doesn't hold it back a bit in terms of letting it be enjoyable by all. Open your ears in this direction.

FREE WILLY-Escape from Pirate's Cove: The franchise moves into touchy territory as the latest entry into the charming orca world comes along at a time when keeping orca's captive is an obviously dicey issue. Here we find Steve Irwin's daughter shuffled off to her crusty grandpa who runs a run down ocean side amusement park that is going to hell but comes to life when a young orca gets trapped. Gramps can sell out to the competitor that's trying to crush him or the young busy body can help nu Willie get his sea bearings back and go back out to sea. The box calls this fun filled adventure but there's a lot of subtext that could really traumatize the young ‘uns. Or not. Are they really fazed by anything anymore? They will be fazed by the heavy talent lined up for a video premiere that carry the proceedings like the pros they are. The bluray comes in the now standard combo pack and makes for a great way to see something nature oriented. And there's other fun critters the kids will love. Nicely done and very capable for family time entertainment that all can enjoy.

IMAX-Under the Sea: So this is how Warner's does it---the worse the movie the cooler the lenticular o card. Cool movies don't a lenticular cover at all. Like this latest Imax presentation that takes the cameras into the waters down under the great barrier reef for a look at nature's side show with marine life unique to the area doing the kind of goofy nature stuff you only used to get in long ago Disney nature pics. One of those super cool travelogues that's a fit thing for kids of all ages, you get all the best of the south Pacific with none of the mess or hassle. Check it out.

Volume 33/Number 135
March 16, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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