Rant: The Neil Young Archives

HughesyBeachWIf you picked up some strange rumblings in the world of music during the first week of May 2008, relax.

It had nothing to do with Chilean volcanoes or any other manifestation of the Pacific Ring of Fire, although the source of the rumblings was a city on the fault line and they created deep divisions in certain on-line communities.

However, it seems official. The Neil Young Archives are on their way. You’d better start saving if you’re a fan, because the impact on your hip pocket is likely to be substantial.

Not that there’s anything new about announcements about the fabled trove of Mr Young’s musical and other musings. Once a suitable interval had passed since the release of Decade back in 1976, there have been reports of the imminent release, first of Decade Vol. 2 and then The Archives.

Back as far as 1996, members of the Rust list and other on-line Neil Young-fan communities had put together their own version of the project, the wonderfully-titled Archives Be Damned - first on three cassette tapes and around the turn of the millennium on five CDRs.

But in a staged announcement at  the JavaOne conference in San Francisco Young announced the imminent release of the first portion of what will be a massive project.

How massive? Ten Bluray DVDs for the first of four instalments, covering the period up to 1973, though I for one am a little puzzled how he’s going to get enough data to go anywhere near filling that sort of space. 

Many will also take issue with the fact that he’s releasing the project in a specialised format that may require a substantial hardware upgrade before the average fan will be able to enjoy it. Of course, all Bluray players are supposed to be backward-compatible playing all previous digital media as well as the latest-and-greatest. At least until the next latest and greatest happens along.


B© Ian Hughes 2012