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This week I’ll be mostly listening to… Neil Young, Trans September 5, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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A bit mainstream? A bit successful for This weekend I’ll be ….? Why yes, indeed. At least in terms of the artist, but in terms of his output, perhaps not.

I heard this the year it came out, 1982, and was… well, look, it’s not the greatest electronic/country crossover ever. But it goes further than Wall of Voodoo (although in truth I have a strange fondness for their Seven Days in Sammytown album from the late 80s when Stan Ridgeway had decamped elsewhere). And… there’s a sort of rugged integrity to it. From the reworking of Mr Soul, check out the ‘dance’ 12″… to the faux Kraftwerk follies, in the best sense of the word, of Sample and Hold and Computer Age, here’s a man willing to extend himself, to refashion his output and I read that in part the genesis of this was his coming to terms with his son’s cerebral palsy and the use of new technologies in the bid to communicate.

I’m no fan of vocoders, or treated vocals (thanks, but no thanks Cher…), bar those used by Bob Mould on his second or third last solo album, but… this is odd. And oddly good.

To my ears it was revelatory in the early 1980s. I liked synth driven pop, still do, but this was something different. I should also mention the cover which was a painting, unfeasibly exotic to my eyes at the time… wireframe – natch.

There’s always been something slightly unhinged about Young and yet simultaneously entirely controlled. And that’s laudable. Rework expectations. Defy them even. Geffen apparently sued him for making ‘music unrepresentative’ of himself… is there any better endeavour?

A bit mainstream? Maybe not.

Mr. Soul (12″ extended remix)

Hold on to your love – a little more predictable.

Transformer Man

Computer Age (Live, 1982)

Computer Age (album version – someone’s home made video).

We R In Control (someone else’s home made video)

Comments»

1. Gary C - "and I fell into a dream" - September 10, 2009

I love it. I bought the LP a month ago for two reasons; the cover art is great and as a Neil fanatic it reflects beautifully on a stressful period in his life with the muse and the devotion for a few years to his sons needs and struggles to communicate.

He put his career aside to help develop communication aids for challenged kids and developed a train set control system (he has registered patents) that his son could use to play with what is reportebly one of the biggest privatley owned train layouts.

Which ever direction he goes Neil is the best.

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2. James Hartman - October 8, 2009

Pity they can’t be bothered to release the album on CD the way it came out on vinyl – “Sample and Hold” is replaced by a nasty remix that loses a lot of the vocals and is boringly repetitive. IMHO.

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