Monday, July 03, 2023

The NACC: The Cleaner and the Laundromat: Belarusian Cleaning Magnate Allegedly Laundered Millions Through Disgraced Latvian Bank ABLV

Tennessee Williams summed up some of my Soviet army captains and Antipodean executive officers wonderfully! 'The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that's also a hypocrite!'

Today the National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC) will finally open its doors. It is an important day in Australia’s political history and we will feel its impact for years to come.

And the ATO establishes the Fraud and Criminal Behaviours (F&CB) business lines

The great unravelling: Inside PwC’s game-changing week

CalPERS Refuses to Spend $1 Million, or $1.30 Each, to Prevent Sale of Personal Data of 770,000 Beneficiaries on Dark Web

How CalPERS is inexcusably throwing nearly 800,000 beneficiaies under the bus in a massive data heist

After a five-year-long investigation into suspected systemic breaches of anti-money laundering laws by the financial crime regulator AUSTRAC, NAB was spared a major fine like its competitors Commonwealth Bank and Westpac which had respectively been fined $700 millionand $1.3 billion for similar but more voluminous breaches.

‘How did this not trigger alarm bells?’ Spotlight on NAB’s failings in major fraud

Nigel Farage has been told by his bank that it is shutting down all his accounts, after claims in the House of Commons that he had received more than half a million pounds in payments from the Russian broadcaster RT

The hidden mode was discovered by a Tesla software hacker known online

National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee Releases First Report

Documents Suggest Billionaire Oligarch Financed Purchase of Austrian Chalet Used by Putin’s Daughter

FedEx Named In What Could Be One Of The Largest Odometer Fraud Schemes In U.S. HistoryJalopnik

Frontline Workers Are Bargaining for Pandemic ‘Hero’ Pay WSJ

SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood Studios Still at Odds Over Higher Residuals for Hit Streaming Shows Variety

Boots Riley: Winning the Writers’ Strike Is Important for Humanity GQ


JON GABRIEL WITH NEWS YOU CAN USE: Note to my fellow middle-aged men: You have permission to be old.

The Cleaner and the Laundromat: Belarusian Cleaning Magnate Allegedly Laundered Millions Through Disgraced Latvian Bank ABLV

CHARLES COOKE: Let the Beatles Be.

“Have you heard about the new Beatles record?” a friend texted me yesterday. I had. And despite my unparalleled enthusiasm for the group, I felt obliged to record without hesitation that I hate it already.

Per the Wall Street Journal, the “new” song “features AI-assisted vocals from the late Beatle John Lennon.” To achieve this, the film director Peter Jackson and his team digitized a demo tape that was recorded by Lennon in 1978, and then used artificial intelligence to extricate — and improve upon — the parts that the producers wanted to keep. From there, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr took over, adding the instruments and vocal harmonies that the original sketch lacked. Conceptually, the process was similar to what McCartney, Starr, and George Harrison did back in 1995, when they converted two forgotten Lennon demos into two fleshed-out songs (“‘Real Love’” and “‘Free As A Bird’”) and released them under the band’s name as part of the Anthology project. Apparently, “Let It Be” remains a suggestion.

Paul McCartney has described the project as “the last Beatles record.” It is no such thing. Whatever McCartney did or did not do during the recording process, the result cannot possibly be “the last Beatles record,” because the result is not a record by the Beatles. The Beatles existed as a recording group between 1962 and 1970, after which they broke up and stayedbroken up. In 1980, one of the band’s members, Lennon, was murdered in New York City. In 2001, another member, Harrison, died of cancer. As of today, only two of the Beatles — that’s just half of the group — are still alive. As was true in 1995, and as will be true in 2045, too, there can be no “more” Beatles records because there is no more Beatles. It is an impossibility.

I have no problem with AI being used to demix a recording. Peter Jackson’s team did a brilliant job demixing Revolver, where the Beatles had multiple instruments on the primitive four-track recording technology that was available to them in 1966, into clean individual tracks. But Giles Martin had the original 1966 mixes to compare his remixes to. However, Revolver was a commercial release; in contrast, McCartney is working with John Lennon’s demo cassette. 

A demo recording is a way for an artist to explore his ideas for a song, and/or to give to his backing musicians to learn a song’s riff or chord progression. On a demo, often he’s not singing with as much effort as he would give a polished recording designed for wide commercial release.

Of the two Lennon demos that were reworked by the then-three surviving Beatles in 1994, Ian MacDonald wrote in his 2007 book, Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties:

Nothing better could have been done with Lennon’s demo by anyone else, and as a soundtrack for Geoff Wonfor’s adroitly nostalgia-exploiting video it works well enough. Ultimately, though, this is a dreary song, produced in a period of its writer’s life when he was too content to care, or notice, whether his expression was banal or unfocused. ‘Free As A Bird’ stands no comparison with The Beatles’ Sixties music.

* * * * * * * *

Essentially as tired as ‘Free As A Bird’ (it was varispeeded up about a tone to somewhere between D sharp and E to give it some zip), ‘Real Love’ appears to have had less time lavished on it and makes little impression. Unimpressed with the quality of these two ‘reunion’ tracks, Harrison declined to have anything to do with Lennon’s third demo, which consequently remains in its original state and was not included on Anthology 3, as originally planned.

Apparently, Harrison did some initial work on the third song, which has been flown into the multi-tracks McCartney recently completed, along with the cleaned-up Lennon vocal. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m expecting similar results to 1994’s efforts. I wonder if McCartney, who will soon turn 81, has also used AI to turn back time on his own vocals, which over the past decade have become quite hoarse sounding.