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Saturday, January 27, 2018

FLASHBACK: Initial Reaction to The Neil Young Archives: Into the Blu and Out of the Black | 2008 Sun JavaOne Conference

Neil Young
Keynote Address at the 2008 Sun JavaOne Conference

Recently, Thrasher's Wheat re-posted a 2009 major examination of the The Making of The Neil Young Archives Volume #1 . Those were exciting times for both The Neil Young Archives Team at Shakey Pictures, as well as, us here at TW for our small role in the product rollout. So here's a journey through the past as we look forward to the next chapter in the long twisting road of the NYA saga.

Almost 10 years ago now, Neil Young delivered the Keynote Address at the 2008 Sun JavaOne Conference to announce the release of his Archives utilizing Bluray technology.

We here at Thrasher's Wheat -- as well as Rusties around the world - eagerly tuned into the Live Webcast to watch the demonstration of the star crossed project. TW even managed to send out a Rust Reporter to the conference to bring us back a Report on Archives Announcement at JavaOne Conference (thanks Chris ‘CW Cannoneer’!)

This post's for you, Mr. Archivist! Enjoy!

Neil Young
Keynote Address at the 2008 Sun JavaOne Conference

As expected, a huge reaction across the world on yesterday's debut of the long awaited Neil Young Archives.

Reaction seems to fall into two categories: 1) fans who greeted the news with "Well now it's really getting closer to reality" and 2) everyone else trying to figure out Blu-Ray DVDs, high resolution 24 bit/192kHz audio, high definition video, Internet update downloads, and Java scripted menu navigation.

Into the Blu (Ray) and Out of the Black.


From geir ove rapp’s weblog » Neil Young will launch his “Archives” on Blu-ray: "This is fabulous news for those of us who are pure Neil Young fans and audio freaks."

From Linux News which notes that this will equate to 50 Blu-ray Discs (2500GB of storage):
With up to 50 gigabytes of storage, Blu-ray discs have five to 10 times the capacity of DVDs, which in turn can hold far more material than CDs. Young is planning a series of five volumes, each consisting of 10 discs.

It's unclear how many fans will have the equipment, and the time, to enjoy such a comprehensive archive. Young said he hopes fans will spend hours exploring an interactive time line, playing classic hits and unreleased tracks, while examining contemporaneous films, photos, recording notes and other documents.


From Steve Hoffman Audiophile Forums:
"I think that Neil is seeing this project as his life story legacy and wants to be as exhaustive as possible while embracing the highest quality digital audio available at the moment so that his effort does not easily become technologically obsolete. In light of this, perhaps leaving the project open to future internet updates is the way for him to finally let it go and release it.

Of course, this can wreak havoc with the fans' patience and nerves, spawning snarky remarks and attitudes from them. But I think he is just trying to get it right."


But not all are happy with the momentous news.

Why Neil Young Is Wrong To Go With Blu-Ray Only | Medialoper:
"I’ve been waiting 20 years for this?

In essence, what this decision has done is to reduce me from a life-long fan who has spent decades waiting to spend money on Neil Young’s Archives to someone who might end up waiting for someone else to rip it and post it for me.

The point is that limiting yourself to a single format in this day and age — no matter the quality of the format — is just bad form. Here’s hoping that it comes out not just in Blu-Ray, but versions on CD, and as high-quality .mp3z or .flac files.

I don’t need the highest quality possible, I just want to hear the music."


From Thrasher's Wheat comment on the announcement, in response to some of the Archives outcry and blowback, UWS81 said...
I can't believe you consider yourself a fan base after reading many of these comments. Neil is an artist. His first priority is his art. Even more so since he has more than enough money to not need any one person's or group's approval. I am sure he would love a positive response from his fans but how could it be the thing that motivates him on a daily basis? If it did, especially with fans like you, he would no longer be around to create new art. In other words, your opinions are catty, petty, and inappropriate. If you can't trust an artist like Neil, with 40 years of credibility, you should stop following his work. It will be doing a favor to yourself and all of us who love to see what's coming next."


Steve Hoffman Audiophile Forums fasteddie113NL said:
"you all sound much like some of my friends when the cd was introduced in the 80's and again a few years later when the first albums weren't released on vinyl but only on cd; 'no no, , I will not buy...'. etc

yet, by 1990, they all had a player AND at least a shelf full of discs (some of them went back to mainly vinyl in recent years, but that's another story...)

having said that, I have my doubts too whether this is marketable in the near future (meaning this Fall), whether I will buy it then (or wait for the audio-rips on the torrent-sites), whether the visual part isn't overrated, whether the internet updates will work out (no, they won't, I have yet to see the first artist that follows-up on promises in that direction)....

let's just wait what actually happens and when before final judgement, right?

for the record, I do believe something like this is the future; it will only be a matter of a few years before computer/internet/streaming video & audio/TV/stereo will be available in fully integrated systems


From Steve Hoffman Audiophile Forums mrmaloof writes:
I'm really kind of surprised by this thread! People on this forum have been whining for years about the demise of the high-res SACD and DVD-Audio formats. The reason for their lack of success is obvious: high-res audio by itself is not a sufficient reason for people to buy a new technology.

Now here comes Blu-ray with high-res audio, high-res video, and enhanced interactivity and network connectivity. That's hopefully enough of a feature set to get people other than audiophiles interested in a high-res audio format, especially since it's being including in game consoles. Yes, the price is high, but Blu-ray just won the format war with HD-DVD. Wait a year or two and prices will be at a reasonable level.

Neil's announcement seems like a great thing to revive the prospect of having a high-res digital audio format that actually wins widespread consumer acceptance, though the consumer acceptance may come because of other features of the format. It's not for everybody, sure, and I understand some of the disappointment if all you're thinking about is Neil's Archives. But I expected to see a lot more enthusiasm for it on this forum based on its implications for high-res audio in the future than all the negativity being expressed here.

I don't have a Blu-ray player yet either, but I'm going to start investigating that now!


Steve Hoffman Audiophile Forums EveryLittleThing posted:
Assuming that this set actually comes out sometime this decade (a big, possibly unsafe assumption), this would actually give me a reason to buy a Playstation 3. (Then again, I like video games, anyway. Someone who does not would obviously have a different perspective on the matter.)

It is, at least, a relatively future-proof Blu-Ray player, since the firmware can be updated via the Internet or game discs. Too bad they removed SACD compatibility; the only model now on the market, the 40GB, can't play them.

The big obstacle for me is that I can't afford a 1080p-capable TV, but I'll worry about that if/when this release starts to look more likely.

I've been a Neil Young fan for years, and frankly, I don't care what format it comes out on. It could come out on four-track tape, or PlayTape, or flexidiscs, or Edison cylinders, and I would still probably buy it. Besides, if this encourages a brief renaissance of hi-rez audio, how is it a bad thing? Better Blu-Ray than nothing at all. I realize this opinion will probably be unpopular, so... YMMV, it's only one man's opinion. I don't feel like arguing about it, and I don't want to upset anyone, either.

I can completely understand why some people are very leery and upset, it's just that I expect Neil to be unfathomably perverse. It's been a very long time since any decision he's made has actually fazed me in the slightest. My default mode with Mr. Young is to assume that I have absolutely no idea what he will do next, or what he will choose to release. For all I know, he'll postpone the Archives yet again in favor of recording an album consisting entirely of a 43-minute duet between comb and tissue paper and xylophone.


From industry analyst Bob Lefsetz Letter:
"But the reason we all care is that Neil Young has a body of work. From the Springfield (and before!) to 'After The Gold Rush' to 'Rust Never Sleeps' all the way to 'Greendale'.

Today, as a result of MTV and now the Net, all people care about is the track. Forgo the hit, figure out how to penetrate a fan’s consciousness, to make him a fan of your career. That’s where the satisfaction and the remuneration truly reside."

Also see:
Archives Preview Video and Partial Track Listing

Report on Archives Announcement at JavaOne Conference

Webcast (re-broadcast link), Photos and Press Release of the Archives at Sun JavaOne Conference

Photos of JavaOne 2008 - Day 1 - 05/06/2008

The never ending speculation on what the Archives will eventually be someday...

Also, see:

The Shroud of Archives: Tracklisting of NYA Volume #1
(w/ L.A. Johnson, center)

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