Archives Comment of the Moment: Those BD-Live Downloads
Harvest Session Track Sheet - April 1, 1971
The Neil Young Archives Comment of the Moment is from D.I. Kertis:
Collecting my thoughts, thus far, about the Archives is a surprisingly challenging task, made all the more daunting by the need to organize them in some fashion before I can present them here. The first thing that comes to mind is the seemingly endless delays of NYA1's s release that we as fans all faced, especially in the six months prior to the release. I have particularly vivid memories of the February release date that fell through. This was a notable source of disappointment for me because my birthday is in late February right around the day the the box set was to be released, presenting a convenient excuse for the monetary splash.
Nonetheless, I was effectively appeased by the release of Fork in the Road in April, which was followed shortly by the news of a new date for Archives: June 2nd, 2009. The anticipation then became comparable to awaiting the release of a summer blockbuster one is particularly looking forward. I spent much of the spring monitoring online criticism of Fork in the Road. I think this was one of several byproducts created by the delay of the first Archives volume: many in the fan community understandably embittered about the repeated postponements of this greatly anticipated and such feelings often spilled over into the reception of interim material. (This is not intended to stir up a hornet's nest, nor to say that FITR is a great album -- it isn't, although I will always maintain that it was *good*, with some outstanding songs.)
The months, weeks, and days leading up to June 2nd were tense and often heated times for Neil's fans. Up to the last minute--even when my Amazon order was placed on either May 30th or 31st--I was unsure as to whether the first Archives volume would actually be released, as I'm sure were many other Neil fans. How could one not be after all the previous delays, even if there images and track lists available?
Another tension-heightening factor was the emergence of the DVD/blu-ray format for the NYA. This startled me quite a bit when I first heard of it: what would be on the DVDs and blu-rays in the way of visuals? The option was not entirely a surprise, however, given Neil's experimentation with DVD as a vehicle for superior audio dating back to about Greendale if memory serves. These releases had regularly been a source of debate amongst fans, not least of all due to the nature of the accompanying visuals: stills, the tape machine playing, the slideshows for Chrome Dreams II, etc.
My understanding of those releases is that the DVDs were obviously designed with paramount audio quality in mind and the format selected was basically a method of making the DVD-Audio listening experience available with a guarantee that it would be compatible to all players, at least within the encoded "region." I think he may also possibly have been testing the waters for the use of a similar format for the Archives releases. At any rate, I went with DVD, for reasons I think clarified in previous posts on here (I have fervent hopes for my home's upgrade to blu-ray by the time Vol. 2 comes around.) I have had my set since the 5th and I still find myself stumbling across new things to enjoy every once in a while.
I am indeed glad that I chose DVD, as it includes a large amount of material I would have missed with the CD edition: the full 236 page book, which can be as entertaining as the Archives discs themselves; substantial amounts of video, including Journey Through the Past; hidden tracks; and the various unannounced extra bits 'n' bobs found in the wonderful virtual "files." and delightful timeline feature. And that's not even mentioning the wholly superior sound. This really is a unique and far-more-than-satisfying experience. Someone had some good ideas and it shows.
On the subject of formats, each has its pros and cons. I am a bit amused by an earlier comment which suggest all non-BD owners are consumed by a blatant vehement jealousy. I can only speak for myself, but the DVD experience has been too wonderful for me to be jealous of anything. I'd have enjoyed the BD live feature, and being able to cruise around the files while the music is playing, and indeed I hope to upgrade to the BD format by the time of Volume 2, but for the time being I feel satisfied.
It is interesting to note, however, that the BD users here on TW seem to me more plagued by technical difficulties than the others. Which makes sense: you're dealing with a cutting-edge format and special programming, not to mention the complications of BD Live. I sincerely wish all the best to those of you dealing with these issues, as I feel I have gotten all the best out of my NYA1 set.
It would be great if everyone could have the NYA experience I've had--no technical or other problems and hours of sheer audio and video entertainment. I have to confess I was bit nervous after reading numerous reports of defective sets, but I was quite pleased to find that my set came with all the correct discs, as well as everything else that was to be included, with no damage to any of it, including the packaging, and only the tiniest spot of easily-removed glue on one of the discs (play remains unaffected by this.) I'm not sure if the problems aren't really as widespread as I've been led to believe or I was just very fortunate.
Either way, I have little complaint with NYA1 and look forward eagerly to the future volumes, whenever they may be released. I also look forward to more new music from Shakey in the coming years.
Thanks -- as always -- D.I.!
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