Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Neil Young's Pono Finally Available

Neil Young appearing on The Letterman Show

Neil Young wants you to feel music for the first time again. In his memoir, "Waging Heavy Peace", the iconic rock star who has had a heavy influence on the likes of Pearl Jam and Social Distortion talked about a music project near and dear to his heart. It was originally called Pure Tone, but after finding out that Pure Tone was taken, the Godfather of Grunge decided to use the Hawaiian word that means 'righteous,' among other things and adopt it for his product.

That project is now dubbed Pono and has just recently been posted on Kickstarter, where the project has already raised $3.3 million with many of the limited edition super duper chrome players signed by different artists already claimed.

OK so this isn't paranormal, so why should you be excited about this?
You may not have noticed a big difference between DVD and Blu-ray, and isn't this just another over-hyped format change? Not according to the musicians and music executives who were interviewed in the introduction video on top of the Kickstarter page. Artists like Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, Flea, David Crosby, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, and Bruce Springsteen all come out amazed at the quality of the sound and rave about the experience of Pono.

There have been some detractors who claim this isn't needed. That digital formats like FLAC and ALAC already exist, but Young says his new player is about enhancing the musical experience through a new musical 'ecosystem'. With artists like Tom Petty and Elton John backing you up, it's difficult to argue against the new player. As stated in his memoir, Neil wants to bring the experience of what the artists hear in the studio into your car and home.

To be clear, Pono does not play a new high-definition format. It's a player that enhances the experience of listening to 'ultra-high resolution recordings' but will also play your old digital files. Like blu-ray players with DVD, Pono can do its version of upscaling to improve the sound of highly compressed formats like mp3. Neil's intention was to use technology to get technology out of the way of the music listening experience and he believes this will reignite people's passion for music.

It's time to feel the music again. Check out Pono.

-David Berck