Like you’ve never heard him before

“It’s just something whose time has come.”

So says Neil Young, who has finally released the first of his long-planned Archives series with Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972, available as an eight-cd or 10 DVD set, or (as preferred by the man himself) a 10-disc Blu-ray compilation.

Neil Young

Neil Young

Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times caught up with Young in a wide-ranging interview, with Young providing insight into the technology concerns that have held up this release as well as his experience collecting and organizing the data of his professional life, going all the way back to music from The Squires, his high school band in Winnipeg.

The set is massive, including a 238-page book to go along with the Blu-ray’s “20 special feature videos, film clips, and film trailers, an additional 55 audio tracks of rare interviews, radio spots, and concert raps, and an array of interactive features, including image galleries of archival photos, press, lyric manuscripts, documents, biographies, tour dates, and complete lyrics, as well as an interactive timeline feature which presents an in-depth overview of Young’s life and career” and the first home video release of his 1972 film, “Journey Through the Past.”

Have I mentioned yet that this is the first of a planned five volumes?  USA Today’s Edna Gundersen got the scoop from Young, including details of his work with Blu-ray’s design group to customize the software into a new format suitable for this release as well as future projects.

The original gold standard for Neil Young compilations, Decade, is over 30 years old.  As great as that 35-track, 2-cd set has held up over the years, believe it when Rolling Stone (in this review) refers to this new box set as a collection that is “built for fanatics, yet the goods could make a fanatic out of anyone.”

If you’re not ready to take the plunge, be sure to check out next week’s PBS premiere of Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied, a BBC production featuring exclusive interviews and previously unseen performance footage from Young’s own extensive collection.

If you’re not hip to Neil Young’s work yet, in 2009, now is the time to go back to the beginning and discover it anew.  Thanks to his meticulous oversight of this archive project, the results of Young’s first dive into the vault are going to have us bemoaning the 3-4 years necessary to wait for Volume 2.

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~ by acm213 on June 2, 2009.

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