Do I have to come right out and say it? The gauntlet has been thrown. There is only one King of Annals atop the Blu-ray mountain. Boasting 10 discs packed with hour upon hour of high-def A/V enjoyment, Archives Vol. 1 is the benchmark by which all future retrospectives will have to be measured. You owe it to yourself to reap the rich bounty of Neil Young's crowning archival achievement. It's a Blu Harvest of the highest order.
By Ken Richardson
When it's finally completed, Neil Young's Archives is expected to fill five volumes, each encompassing roughly a decade. Vol. 2, then, will cover 1972 to 1982, says Young's manager, Elliot Roberts, who adds: "It will be ready in 2 or 3 years. We're preparing it now; we have people working on it full-time. We believe there should be a 2- or 3-year bridge between each volume, so that you can appreciate the work."
And the only way to really appreciate the Archives, according to Roberts, is on Blu-ray Disc. He first previewed the project during a panel discussion at this year's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas: "I think you'll understand why Neil waited so long to put this out on Blu-ray. It's not just the navigating ability, but it's the sound, the way he always envisioned it in his head. When you get older, you start thinking about your legacy. Neil wanted to do something that would stand the test of time. And he felt, now that Blu-ray is here and has won the high-def war, he wanted his sound remembered in the best possible way, and he wanted his films and video material seen in the highest possible resolution. For Neil's legacy, Blu-ray is just the best format that exists right now."
Meanwhile, of course, Neil keeps releasing new records, such as April's Fork in the Road and September's expected Toast - an album that Sound & Vision exclusively "previewed" way back in 2001 when Young was touting his previous fave high-rez format, DVD-Audio. Those albums will likely find their way into Archives Vol. 5. And when exactly will that, and thus the entire Archives, be finished?
"Oh, it won't be in my lifetime," Roberts says. "I mean that literally."
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