Project One: PONO
Neil Young announced an update about PONO during his acceptance speech in Los Angeles at the Village recording studio for the President’s Merit award at the Grammy Event of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy.
Digital. Digital is not bad. But Xerox is not good. I always like to say Picasso was really happy to see original Picassos everywhere, but when he went into some places and saw Xeroxes of Picassos, it didn’t make him as happy, because he thought people thought that we was making those things. The thing we do is, we make great stuff in the studio and then we kiss its ass goodbye, because nobody’s ever going to hear it. That’s unfortunate, and it didn’t use to be that way. That’s something that happened to us – that’s an injury we sustained, and it deeply hurt us. So the time has come for us to recover and to bring music back to the people in a way that they can recognize it in their souls – through the window of their souls, their ears. So they can feel and vibrate and so that they can get goosebumps. We cherish those fucking goosebumps. We really need those.
Being impressed by something, and how cool it is, and how sharp it is, and how snappy it is, is one thing, and that translates into almost any media. But when you’re singing something very soulful from your heart, and the echo is perfect and everything’s great and you’re using maybe an acoustic chamber and everything sounds great. And then you listen to it and you love it, but you hear it somewhere else and it’s gone – that’s terrible. We don’t like that. Not many of us like that, we’re not happy about it. So we’re trying to change that, and we’re trying to make it better. We’re trying to make music sound technically better, and that’s what I want to do. So we have a player that plays whatever the musicians made digitally, and that’s going to come out. We’re announcing that at SXSW, we’re introducing it, it’s called PONO, and that’s my commercial, thank you very much.
Read Neil Young’s entire speech here:
Project Two: A Letter Home
After his speech Rolling Stone Magazine spoke with Neil Young and asked him a few questions. Here are two of those questions that are specific to his next recording project.
Your next record’s coming out in March?
Yeah, it’s one of the lowest-tech experiences I’ve ever had.
You’ll hear it. It’s called A Letter Home.
Could it be that Neil Young recorded the entire project inside Jack White’s Third Man Recording Booth? If you recall, Young recorded a cover of Bert Jansch’s “Needle of Death” inside the booth during Record Store Day 2013.
Third Man Records unearths NEIL YOUNG’s A LETTER HOME
An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever. — Homer Grosvenor
I also refer you to Michael Goldberg’s blog post from 1/16/14, “Exclusive: Neil Young and Jack White Collaborate for New Covers Album” for the best specifics about A Letter Home.