Opening Salvo

Is There a Thinking Cap?

I wonder if artificial intelligence is the natural result of human evolution. It’s not a unique thought; science fiction author John W. Campbell’s short story “The Last Evolution” looked at this in 1932, and Ray Kurzweil’s 2005 book The Singularity Is Near suggests it may not only be inevitable but closer than we think. Should it be feared or embraced? Read Kurzweil’s book – I won’t give any spoilers here. I find the subject fascinating.

We’ve lost two more titans: keyboardist and composer Chick Corea (79), whose influence on the birth of jazz fusion cannot be overstated. WL Woodward offers a tribute in this issue. It’s safe to say that everyone reading this has heard the work of Rupert Neve (94), a designer of pro audio equipment that shaped the sound of music as we know it today. His recording consoles, found in Abbey Road Studios and facilities worldwide, are prized.

Also in this issue: we’ve got a trifecta of interviews, as John Seetoo talks with Nason Tackett of Hear Technologies, Don Lindich goes Rogue with Mark O’Brien of Rogue Audio and Rich Isaacs interviews musical synthesizer pioneer Patrick Gleeson. Larry Schenbeck considers Bach’s monumental Passion settings. Adrian Wu considers the unending analog vs. digital debate. Tom Gibbs reviews new releases from Steven Wilson, the Staves and a solo album from Hayley Williams of Paramore. Ken Sander spends time in Peter Tosh’s Jamaica.

Anne E. Johnson gets down with Mary Chapin Carpenter and jazz drumming legend Max Roach. Jay Jay French dives into streaming audio, and Andy Schaub starts a series on the technology behind music streaming software. Galen Gareis of ICONOCLAST and Belden continues his deep exploration into audio cables. J.I. Agnew makes a very big move. Russ Welton gives us more speaker setup tips. I speculate about whether audio systems can ever attain perfection. We wrap things up with James Whitworth racking them up, Peter Xeni contemplating the sound of silence, leisurely listening and a rave new world.