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Neil Young to Place His Entire Archives Online

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

To date, Neil Young‘s archival releases have consisted of a bunch of live recordings and the 10-disc 2009 box set, The Archives Vol. 1 1963–1972. He’s now announced plans to place all of it online for streaming, complete with an interactive timeline, and it will be continually updated to allow for future works.

Over at Neil Young Archives is a letter outlining what he plans to do. “Every single, recorded track or album I have produced is represented,” he writes. “It is always current. You can browse the music I made between today’s date and 1963, when I made my first recording in Canada and it was released as a 45 RPM single.”

He adds that zooming in on the timeline will reveal full details of everything Young recorded in that period, from his known albums to unreleased standalone tracks or abandoned projects, annotated with credits, artwork and information on the sessions. Young has also created a “filing cabinet” containing the songs in chronological order, with such extra information as videos, films, press or other memorabilia associated with the individual track.

Young then goes into detail about the technology behind his new Xstream service, which he announced back in April, promising “the highest quality your network condition allows at that moment and adapts as the network conditions change.” The music found on the Neil Young Archives, he says, will be “pure uncompressed masters” because “[a]ll compression formats compromise quality.”

It appears that the first archival work to be unveiled on the Neil Young Archives is Hitchhiker, an album he recorded with just his acoustic guitar on Aug. 11, 1976. Often bootlegged, Hitchhiker contains early versions of “Pocahontas,” “Powderfinger” and “Ride My Llama,” and several unreleased songs, like “Hawaii” and “God Give Me Strength.”

“It was a complete piece, although I was pretty stony on it, and you can hear it in my performances,” Young wrote in his memoir, Special Deluxe. “Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer or coke. [David] Briggs was in the control room, mixing live on his favorite console.” You can check out the title track here.

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