The Beatles Final Collaboration (Thanks To Machine Learning)

I remembering reading something about Paul McCartney saying there was one more Beatles song under production, now that the Age of Artificial Intelligence was here, and to be frank, I thought: oh no. Please don’t let it be John Lennon AI Voice singing in the mix. Please don’t let it be AI George Harrison guitar.

It isn’t.

Instead, as I learned when I watched this short documentary last night, it’s a song that Paul, Ringo and George tried to work on decades ago to honor Lennon, with permission of his family, but the rough tracks that Lennon had recorded for a song that he never finished were distorted with loud piano and soft voice.

They gave up in the early 1990s. But now that Machine Learning is here and film director Peter Jackson has the technical skills, Paul realized, the computer algorithms and power could isolate Lennon’s voice and separate it from the rough mix that Lennon had made, and once the voice was isolated, they could build a song around it.

Harrison passed away in the meantime, so along with Lennon’s voice, Harrison’s slide guitar leads were also added into the recording, with McCartney and Ringo Starr playing along, allowing the claim that this is the Last Beatles’ Song to be true, such as it goes.

The song gets released today (Nov2), I believe. The documentary is worth a look.

Peace (and Sound),
Kevin

Book Review: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 18 (No Brainer)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid book

It must be that time of year — the time when the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney rolls off the presses, and sure enough, for the 18th year (!), a new book has arrived from the series. This one is called No Brainer and it’s another predictably funny set of journal skits in the life of Greg Heffley, and this time, the entire focus is on Greg’s middle school and the education system, so you know I was quickly opening the pages.

Kinney takes aim at issues such as school funding problems, book banning in school libraries, the use of advertising on school property from local companies, and much more as the new (out of retirement) principal of Greg’s school — which just learned it had terrible standardized test scores — seeks to motivate, cajole and do whatever it takes to get the school off the state’s watch-list, before devolving into every aspect of a money-grab.

As usual, it’s all a mess of distractions and dead ends, but Kinney’s skills with his pen and his writing brings heart to the story, through Greg’s keen observations about the transformation of his school, which is in danger of being closed.

I read this one in a day, enjoyed it, and have passed it on to one of my students. When I told this sixth grader that I had been reading each book, every year, for 18 years (I used to read them aloud with each of my three boys when they were younger), the student gave me a look, as if trying to grapple with the longevity of the reading experience.

Then we both laughed, and he thanked me for lending him the book, and soon was completely immersed in it.

Peace (over time),
Kevin