Rock icon Neil Young has announced an unreleased companion album to his 1982 record Trans called Johnny’s Island, which was also recorded in 1982 alongside the same band on Trans. This upcoming companion album is set to include mostly unreleased tracks such as “Big Pearl,” “Island in the Sun,” and “Love Hotel.” This project does not have a release date or tracklist as of press time.
Young’s Trans record will also be accompanied by a new animated film called Trans: The Animated Story, which will be directed Micah Nelson, the son of country legend Willie Nelson. A release date has not been announced for this project either, however it will host a Blu-Ray and DVD as well as the NYA’s Hearse Theater. The movie is also set to include all the music and characters present on Trans.
Trans was infamous at the time of its release due to its sharp departure from Young’s trademark rock sound into a more electronic style reminiscent of Kraftwerk. The album and Everybody’s Rockin’ were both cited in Geffen Records lawsuits against Young for releasing “deliberately uncommercial and unrepresentative work,” but the suit was later dropped.
Despite the album’s infamy, Trans was an important moment for Young, who was spending a lot of his time working on a therapy program for his son Ben, who has cerebral palsy. He explained that his decision to use a vocoder was representative of his inability to communicate with Ben, who is mute.
“At that time he was simply trying to find a way to talk, to communicate with other people. That’s what Trans is all about. And that’s why, on that record, you know I’m saying something but you can’t understand what it is. Well, that’s exactly the same feeling I was getting from my son,” Young elaborated.
Trans isn’t the only studio album Young is looking back on, he revisited his 2003 rock opera Greendale on the live album Return to Greendale last fall and dug into his archives for Neil Young Archives Vol. II (1972 -1976). He also released a new EP called The Times and unearthed a lost 1976 record Homegrown in 2020.