Neil Young to Complete Long-Lost ‘Trans’ Film
Neil Young plans to expand his already voluminous online archives to include a wealth of previously unreleased material — including a long-lost film companion to his polarizing 1982 Trans LP that he says will let people experience the album "the way I wanted them to hear it in the first place."
As Young tells Yahoo! Music, original plans for Trans called for a collection of videos that would have told a story around the songs — a companion piece that, once it was scuttled due to a soon-to-be-infamous series of struggles between Young and his new label at the time, Geffen Records, left the record "half of a letter, cut down the middle."
The film, which runs 35 minutes and was completed with help from Young's recent musical collaborator Micah Nelson, tells what Young describes as "a very touching and moving story about artificial intelligence and communication disorders," filling in an absence that has long frustrated him.
"Micah Nelson and I are doing an animated video of the story of Trans, so that you can see all the characters," he explained. "Every song has got characters; a lot of the characters go from song to song. There’s a factory where they’re making people, and they’re making like clones of people, and computerized versions. When I sing, it’s me but it’s not me, it’s my ‘Neil 2’ that’s singing ‘Mr. Soul’ and other songs."
As Young fans are aware, the Young/Geffen conflict was ultimately taken to court, and Young's fast-growing discography has made it more difficult to settle in and fix any missed opportunities surrounding Trans. But, as Young noted to Yahoo!, better late than never.
"This is what I wanted to do in the first place, and then the record company made me put it out without the videos, because they didn’t believe in the record, because it wasn’t Harvest," he added. "It would’ve been great [if the Trans video had come out in 1982], but it wasn’t to be. But we’re doing it now."