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Bob Dylan disc to be the first in a new high-fidelity format developed by T Bone Burnett

Jon Bream
Star Tribune (TNS)

MINNEAPOLIS — Leave it to Bob Dylan to promise something special and not give us details. And he's got a co-conspirator in celebrated producer T Bone Burnett.

The Grammy- and Oscar-winning producer is behind a new high-fidelity format for listening to music, and he has tapped Dylan to make the inaugural disc of "Ionic Originals."

Burnett, who has long been dissatisfied with the sonic quality of recordings, claims this will be the first breakthrough in analog reproduction in more than 70 years.

There were no details as to when this new disc would be released and how to play it — or which Dylan songs would be involved. A news release this week promised that the music legend would revisit "a personally chosen set of his iconic songs for the first time in decades."

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"An Ionic Original is the pinnacle of recorded sound," Burnett said in a statement. "It is archival quality. It is future-proof. It is one of one. Not only is an Ionic Original the equivalent of a painting, it is a painting. It is lacquer painted onto an aluminum disc, with a spiral etched into it by music. This painting, however, has the additional quality of containing that music, which can be heard by putting a stylus into the spiral and spinning it."

FILE - Musician Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles on Jan. 12, 2012. Transcripts of lost 1971 Dylan interviews with the late American blues artist Tony Glover and letters the two exchanged reveal that Dylan changed his name from Robert Zimmerman because he worried about anti-Semitism, and that he wrote "Lay Lady Lay" for actress Barbra Streisand. The items are among a trove of Dylan archives being auctioned in November 2020 by Boston-based R.R. Auction. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

With his new company, NeoFidelity, Burnett promises to produce a recording that "possesses a depth, resonance and sonic fidelity that exceeds that of vinyl, CD, streaming or any other means of experiencing recorded music."

Burnett has produced albums by, among others, Dylan, Elvis Costello, Los Lobos, Roy Orbison, Brandi Carlile and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. He also has composed and produced music for such movies as "O Brother, Where Art Thou," "The Big Lebowski" and "Crazy Heart."

Meanwhile, Dylan resumes his concert tour behind 2020's heralded "Rough and Rowdy Ways" album on May 28 in Spokane, Washington. He has authored a new book, "The Philosophy of Modern Song," in which he will analyze the songwriting of everyone from Stephen Foster to Nina Simone, due on Nov. 8.

The Bob Dylan Center, a museum housing his personal archives and other artifacts, will open on May 10 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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