Neil Young working on animated video companion to his 1982 "Trans" album

Written by on May 8, 2018

Geffen RecordsNeil Young is working on an animated film based on his synthesizer-heavy 1982 album Trans, a project he’d initially planned to be part of the futuristic concept record’s original release.

The folk-rock legend tells Yahoo Entertainment that he’s collaborating with Willie Nelson‘s son Micah — who’s played in Neil’s backing band Promise of the Real in recent years — on the video. Young says the flick, which will run 35 minutes, is “a very touching and moving story about artificial intelligence and communication disorders.”

Neil created Trans as a way of communicating with his son Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy. Explaining the album’s concept, Young says, “Every song has got characters; a lot of the characters go from song to song. There’s a factory where 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.

Neil notes that many people struggled to understand the Trans album, which featured Young’s vocals distorted via the use of the vocoder, but he maintains that the originally planned video would’ve made the concept and story much clearer. However, his record label at the time, Geffen, refused to fund the video.

“[T]he record company made me put [Trans] out without the videos, because they didn’t believe in the record, because it wasn’t [his folky hit 1972 album] Harvest,” explains Young. “It would’ve been great [if the video had come out in ’82], but it wasn’t to be. But we’re doing it now.”

When completed the video will premiere on Young’s expansive Neil Young Archives site.

Meanwhile, Neil also tells Yahoo Entertainment that he’s preparing “four or five Crazy Horse albums that have never been heard,” which he’ll debut on the site as well.

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