The Archives Will Come Out This Year ... Except...
Over the years, we've written quite a bit about the twists and turns with the legendary Neil Young Archives. So nothing really ever surprises us about the quest. That is, of course, until the next tantalizing clue surfaces.
So the following news really has folks in an uproar -- as usual -- about the latest development. From Billboard (via Hollywood Reporter) Neil says from Sundance:
"'I know it's in technical production now, but it's only coming out on Blu-ray and DVD. There won't be CDs. Technology has caught up to what the concept was in the first place [and] how we're able to actually present it. But there's no doubt it will come out this year.'"
That's right: no CDs, a format Young has long despised due to its audio limitations. Instead, Young is utilizing DVD capabilities to present an interactive "time line" for the music, allowing users to experience articles and film clips from a song's given era as well as ephemera like lyric sheets.
So no CD's for the Archives?! What could this mean??? And what is this Blu-Ray thing? Another disruptive format similar to the relegation of 8-tracks and vinyl to the dustbin? The horrors. Or could it be that once again Neil is ahead of curve?
To some extent, it's old news regarding the BlueRay DVDs.
Here's a small sampling of the reaction.
From Glorious Noise Derek posts:
I am rounding up a posse. We're going to storm Neil's ranch and seize all archival material. It's a matter of the National Trust and Neil can no longer be trusted as guardian of such important material.
From Steve Hoffman Music Forums rjp posts:
why on earth would a musician not want his art to be able to be heard on a CD, the main source of listening to music by most of the world?
neil really is a strange cat.
From Glorious Noise Jake posts:
It's just a delay tactic. Guess what, Neil: next week there's going to be a new technology that's even better than Blu-ray. Better push it back again!
Plus, now I have to go out and buy a Blu-ray disc player? F that.
Neil is insane and has proven that he's no longer competent to make decisions in regards to his archival material. He needs to pass it over to Joel Bernstein and recuse himself from the project entirely.
From Steve Hoffman Music Forums jb foreverchange posts:
"No Cds ? No buy! I'm not going to rush out & buy a blue Ray player just to see the 2 that might be the same that came out already on DVD. This is a sure way to kill sales on a box that no one knows is coming out soon.If I want to copy the first 4 albums to other CDrs this make it impossible. The record companies are commiting suicide. Why don't they just burn all the tapes in their vaults since they no longer need them!"
From Glorious Noise DJMurph posts:
I don't know if I wanna join this posse; part of me just wants to see the shit released. If the actual songs are coming out, and if he is choosing to release it on Blu-Ray and DVD for the HIGHER resolution sound those formats can offer (as opposed to ... mp3), then I'm okay with that. I can make my own damn CDs if that's the case. Neil has always been persnickety, harping about his belief about the shortcomings of CD sound quality. DVD-Audio offered a higher potential sound quality, before that format died. Maybe the implementation of his archive project on Blu-Ray and DVD will be the next logical extension of that higher resolution sound. If so, Neil's entitled to be persnickety, and if we get the music in SOME viable audio format, who the fuck cares if it isn't CD?
From Aquarium Drunkard Mike posts:
"I have come to the point that I give Neil the benefit of the doubt. Most likely, he feels that a CD release doesn’t really add much to what is out there, whereas a DVD is something entirely new. We know that he will only release things that add something real to his catalog (ie the whole One the Beach CD release issue). If his CD copies of shows he is releasing aren’t up to snuff, at least a DVD brings something else."
As far as we know, Neil, Elliot and Reprise have all thought about this for a long and hard time. And this is what they've come up with. This isn't about making a quick buck or maybe even something for all but the most hard core fans.
This is really about leaving a legacy. A quality legacy. And this format will allow for a transition into some future unknown technology someday. That's Neil. In it for the long run.
Also, a case can be made that the decision is also based on piracy concerns. A Blu-Ray DVD is going to be a lot harder to rip to MP3.
As far as we're concerned, as long as Neil is making great music like the wonderful Chrome Dreams II and touring with some of his best performances in years, we're quite happy to wait for the eventual release in whatever shape or format.
More on the tortured history of the Neil Young Archives.