You might recall that ditty from childhood about the little engine that could (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...). It's an apt metaphor for high-end audio. In traversing the aural sepulchers of last winter's Consumer Electronics Show and the summer's HI-FI Show, I routinely encountered one divine sound system after another. Yet while I never tire of transcendent sonics, eventually I become inured to the procession of celestial, cost-no-object speakers. It's like having a white-light experience, then returning to the gritty reality of life on earth, where for most of us cost is not merely the object, but the determining factor in finding an optimal balance among audio components.
BILL FRISELL: Gone, Just Like A Train Bill Frisell, electric & acoustic guitars; Viktor Krauss, bass; Jim Keltner, drums, percussion Nonesuch 79479-2 (CD). 1998. Lee Townsend, prod.; Judy Clapp, eng. AAD. TT: 69:58 Performance ***** Sonics *****