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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Comment of the Moment: CD-Less Archives

There's been a huge reaction to the news that the Neil Young Archives will not be released in a CD format both here at Thrasher's Wheat, over on Rust and across the 'net.

A lot of the reaction is frustration and confusion. We really feel that given how many times and how long we've gone through this, that one shouldn't get too worked up about this until it's actually released. Afterall, just a year ago (and even still today) the official Reprise Records site states 8 CD, 2 DVD.

As we stated in our previous post Neil, Elliot Roberts and the label have probably given this a great deal of thought over the years. From many angles. Certainly the label looks at this from a sales perspective. But our hunch is that Neil is doing this from a legacy and quality perspective. It's what Neil wants to hear and see.

While we can't say that we fully understand all the technical details, and the various pro and con choices, we're certain that when the Archives is released that there will be plenty of details about with which to make an informed decision about how to proceed with our purchase and any associated hardware. For all we know, there maybe some bonus MP3 download option or something equally appealing to the more casual, non-audiophile fan.

Long time fans understand this is all part of the Neil deal. He does what he wants. You're either on the bus or you're not. You either get it or you don't. It's virtually pointless to wail about anything Neil does. Whether it's ticket prices, Pegi as an concert opener, bonus tracks on Chrome Dreams, only one free CD for every four tickets, folks are going to be upset.

As we recall -- although we can't find the exact quote at the moment -- Neil said that he has, on occasion, "abused" his fans with all of his career detours. Of course, for many, this is what makes it interesting to be a Neil fan. Every year is a surprise.

So who knows? Maybe another year will pass with no Archives? Or as rko said...
You folks need to get a grip. We've waited 20 years for this. Finally Neil is ready to let us have it and all we do is bitch and complain.

I wouldn't be surprised if he just says "F- it, ungrateful bastards".

But I hope he doesn't.

Lastly, we're sure that Neil will have a lot to say about his reasoning as the release gets closer. We've waited this long so what's a few more months?

Which is a long way of saying, here's the Comment of the Moment on the CD-Less Archives news by Anonymous:
Two possibilities

1. he's stalling - who knows why anymore. If I didn't know better I'd think the archival material actually didn't exist.

2. he hates CDs so much that he's willing to take the risk of a DVD only music release. Less of a risk now; look at the increasing number of concert recordings that only show up as DVDs (e.g. Heart of Gold) without any audio soundtrack being released on CD. This is happening to studio recordings slowly. CDs are dying.

If it's Possibility 1, Neil has passed the BS line with me. Too many false starts and too much waiting for the perfect medium. Get it in the can and on the shelves so I can throw it down on the table at the bar and stop my friends from laughing at me about what will come first, the end of the Mayan Calendar or the Archives

If it's Possibility 2,
I'm OK with it but that's because I wrote CDs off last year - the format is clearly dying. In fact I sort of expected this when Neil started talking up the video elements. I can move the audio into another format quite easily

However, I have to question how audience friendly this move is. Most fans don't have the inclination or the ability to deal with a non-CD medium for music at this point. Neil's fan base is older and used to CDs.

At the least, the songs should be provided in CD format in some permutation of the box set.

I understand his point about audio quality and taken to the extreme that means Blu Ray.

But we are talking about masters that are 40 years old and likely in many cases somewhat roughly recorded (hence their rarity). Does this type of recording really warrant a DVD only release, if the tradeoff is that the majority of the fan base cannot access the music in the format they want? Does The Sultan in Blu Ray really sound that much better than the The Sultan in WAV?

Will be interesting to see if Archives can be purchased by song on Itunes. Top quality there is sub-CD.


At 1/30/2008 06:51:00 PM, Blogger heywally said...

Fortunately for me, I don't really care about the archives because we've already seen and heard Neil's best stuff and there has been plenty of it. I honestly don't care to hear a bunch of throwaway old stuff by Neil and won't buy it; I've already gotten more than my fair share of great songs from him. So, as they say, whatever.

At 1/30/2008 07:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually love this form of hype. The neverending, everchanging stories of the long awaited release, coming any day now, but not right away. Oh yeah, and its not exactly going to be what I said it was yesterday. Because I had a new idea today...that you should believe instead.

Just wait a little longer.

Insted of 8 CDs and 2 DVDs you're getting you're just ging to get the 2 DVDs. Bob Dylan said that...something like that.

And those 2 CDs I released recently from the Archives (the Massey Hall and Fillmore CDs) won't fit into the Archive box like I said they would. Because they're CDs...

Just wait.

At 1/30/2008 08:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I heard a perfect echo die, into an anonymous wall of digital sound, somewhere deep inside of my soul. A natural beauty should be presevered like a monument, to nature."

At 1/30/2008 09:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's perfectly understandable:

Is it so hard to make arrangements for yourself, when you're old enough to repay but young enough to sell?

At 1/30/2008 09:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CDs are all about the ears.

But there's more to the piture than meets the eye. And that's a DVD thing.

At 1/30/2008 09:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CDs are all about the ears.

But there's more to the piture than meets the eye. And that's a DVD thing.

With a DVD I am not fading away.

At 1/31/2008 05:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right. There has to be CDs because I already released 2 Archives CDs. And I called them Archives.

Someday you'll find everything you're looking for.

At 1/31/2008 05:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to the unreleased albums that were supposed to be part of the Archives?

At 1/31/2008 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What bore. I don't even care about Neil's fucking archives project anymore. This is all just PR hype bullshit to keep people interested in Neil. Maybe he has no confidence in his current releases and this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the only way, in his simplistic mind to keep people interested in his career.

If this thing is ever released, I hope that it tanks and that we won't have to hear about Volume 2 being released in the year 2254.

At 1/31/2008 04:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ever disagreed with anything Neil has done? It's so predictable that you'd try to put a positive spin on this. Just like you did when Neil's great deception with the 'Massey Hall' DVD (which isn't from Massey Hall at all) was discovered. Have some balls man, criticize him when it's deserved - the guy's not perfect, and he'd be the first to agree...

At 1/31/2008 06:01:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

To Anon at 4:22:

Regarding your charge re: "Neil's great deception with the 'Massey Hall' DVD". Yes, we dealt with issue here.

So don't be making unfounded accusations.

As for criticizing the guy? I think the comments on the subject speak for themselves without my getting into grand editorializing on the subject. As you can see above, my thoughts are that Neil is doing this for his legacy and for quality reasons.

And I should have a problem with that?

If you're a Neil fan than you get it. It's not about "you" or "us" or "fans". It's about what Neil wants to do.


At 1/31/2008 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Ben said...

The Massey Hall thing was a disaster but nobody has rationally explained to me how this is bad. I hear a lot of people spouting off about what bullshit it is to use new technology because they don't feel like learning how to do anything new. The fact is, Blu-Ray and DVD provide excellent audio vastly superior to a CD. Neil hates CDs and the lack of an alternative is one of the biggest reasons this hasn't come out yet. And now it just might have a chance. It isn't pretentious, it isn't about milking wallets, it's about an artist who cares about the quality of what he releases, and that's such a marvelously rare thing these days.

At 1/31/2008 09:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean, Jesus people. Give the guy a break. Is there a single person on here that doesn't own a DVD player? What are you worried about. If the Archives come out, in any form, I'm glad. So really, relax.

At 2/01/2008 07:02:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with you lot in the USA? I'm looking forward to seeing him at the Apollo Hammersmith London in March. I thought us Brits were the only people who liked to build people up and then pull 'em down. My mother always taught me that you shouldn't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Keep on rockin' Neil and sod what the critics say. You've given me years of immesurable pleasure with your music...and Pegi, you do what you have to do too.

At 2/01/2008 09:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the thing:

All the conflicting stories are marketing hype, designed to create a buzz.

Relax, there will be CDs and DVDs both. Betcha $50...

At 2/01/2008 04:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't give a f### anymore, like many of you I've been waiting over 10 years for this stuff, and hey!, it's not really the first set that I'm interested in anyway, (1962 - 1972), lots of Squires, Buffalo Springfield etc, and yes , up to and including Harvest, (in other words, the first four albums, that would be good) but the real deal would be the second Archives set, presumably from about '73 to 81/82. Tonights the Night, On The Beach, Live shows from '73 & '76, Homegrown/Chrome Dreams, Zuma, Stars N' Bars, Rust Never Sleeps, Comes A Time, Re-actor, Hawks & Doves. I imagine that one's scheduled for release about 2015!

THAT'S what I'm waiting for, but as I'm only seven years younger than Neil myself ,and have been listening to him since 1969, (My first Neil Young live show was at the Royal Festival Hall, London, February 1971) I think I'm going to be long gone before any of this stuff sees the light of day.

Think Miles Davis, Hendrix etc. until the worst happens, are we ever gonna to be able to get our hands on any of this. For the past three years, since the Reprise announcement, it's been sometime in 2007, and then, February 2008, and now, I've just given up!!

I've got what I've got, for the rest, it's back to the Grateful Dead, now there's an example of how to keep on releasing old stuff and still make it worthwhile, God Bless You Jerry,


At 2/03/2008 08:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what's going to happen is that the originally planned CDs are ging to be released as DVDs with some pictures thrown on top of the audio.

Here's an excuse to finally hook your stereo up to your TV and enjoy.

You can listen to the old stuff in the car.

At 2/05/2008 01:34:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shit, who fuckin cares,VINYL is still the best on HPM 100's. CD always did and always will suck


At 2/05/2008 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For someone who is new to Neil Young (4 months or something), lacking in cash (hey I'm only 18) and clueless in what format to follow...this is confusing.

I miss the good ol' days when I thought that 128kbps was amazing.

Now there's CD, SACD, MP3, Vinyl, DVD audio...urgh. I only just bought a record player.

I have years and years ahead before I get through all of his other stuff. So I'll probably buy this and store it away until I can afford to get a blue ray player or whatever.


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