Neil Young appearing at last week’s Dive Into Media conference expressed his distaste for MP3’s in no uncertain terms.
Young, the perennial music purist, said that while modern music formats like MP3 are convenient, they sound lousy.
“My goal is to try and rescue the art form that I’ve been practicing for the past 50 years,” Young said. “We live in the digital age and, unfortunately, it’s degrading our music, not improving it.”
It’s not that digital is bad or inferior, it’s that the way it’s being used isn’t doing justice to the art,” Young said. “The MP3 only has 5 percent of the data present in the original recording. … The convenience of the digital age has forced people to choose between quality and convenience, but they shouldn’t have to make that choice.”
Young proposed that fans stage a grassroots movement to demand higher-quality audio. “Occupy audio!” he urged.
Here’s Young talking about digital recording with The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka.
Shot in 1975/76 during The Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Bob Dylan’s four epic vanity production, Renaldo And Clara, is a pretentious hodgepodge of disconnected vignettes shot through with occasional moments of musical brilliance. But even staggeringly good performances of “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Tangled Up In Blue” can’t save this bloated folly flung from the depths of Dylan’s gargantuan narcissism.
A commercial bust when it was first theatrically released, Dylan later cut the film by almost two hours, leaving mostly concert footage, and even then audiences stayed away in droves.
In describing the making of Renaldo And Clara, Dylan said “a third is improvised, about a third is determined, and about a third is blind luck.” The improvisation part is clearly apparent and I imagine that the determined part is an allusion to the musical performances. But the last ingredient, the “blind’ thing, is what seems to have really driven the film…and blind ain’t good in a visual medium.
While a few critics compared Renaldo And Clara to French surrealist films like Les Enfants Du Paradis (must be Dylan’s mime make-up), I see absolutely no poetry or magic in the movie. I’m a Dylan fan and over the years I’ve repeatedly tried watching R&C with all the mercy and love I can bring to it. But it has yet to reveal any hidden genius to me. Are there readers out there who see something in this that I don’t? I’m open to having my mind changed. Really.
Anyway, here’s Renaldo And Clara in its uncut shambolic glory. It looks beautiful. Much better than the bootlegs I’ve seen in the past.
Noel Fielding’s new Luxury Comedy sees the Mighty Boosh’s “Vince Noir” going solo for a series of seven color-filled episodes on E4. Luxury Comedy is half-live action and half-animation. How can you not love something that makes overt references to Kennth Anger’s Lucifer Rising as well as Roy Wood within the first few seconds!?!?! (That’s a neat trick, I was duly impressed, Mr. Fielding.)
Fielding (playing “himself”) lives in a treehouse in a jungle, along with his band, a creature called “Smooth,” a German chick named Dolly and Andy Warhol. Yes, THE Andy Warhol. The music was co-written by Kasabian’s Sergio Pizzorno and Fielding.
Footage from the 1989 record release party of the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique album on the rooftop of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Hard to imagine that this iconic building is being converted into condos!
I sent this clip to my old pal Sean Fernald, who was a marketing exec at Capitol at the time and he wrote back saying that he “remembered that day well.” They really were beastie boys back then. Now they’re beastie men...
For its 20th anniversary in 2009, Paul’s Boutique was remastered in 24-bit audio that significantly improved upon the murky mastering of the original CD.