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A New Take on that Old-Timey Sound

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inspired by the field recordings of Alan Lomax, The 78 Project is on a mission to record today’s musicians with yesterday’s technology. With just a microphone, an authentic 1930′s PRESTO direct-to-disc recorder, and a blank lacquer disc, musicians are given the opportunity to make a recording anywhere they choose. Two staff members, Lavinia Wright and Alex Steyermark, join us to explain and they’ll record our guest, Justin Townes Earle, live on the air. 


Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Wright

Comments [11]

D.H. Edwards from Texas

Where can you buy A Presto K-6 Recorder?

Mar. 19 2014 08:18 PM

Oh! Got me, there...

The PRESTO in 2012 would be better served by a name something like...

The Magical Soulful Resonator

Excellent counterpoint. I'm convinced.

May. 18 2012 08:23 PM
clive betters

i'm so glad BS ain't music......
btw-do you have a patent on the "fake romanticism" meter?
enlighten us please, we're on the edge of out seats.

May. 18 2012 04:27 PM

...welcome to the Enlightenment.

No matter how many superficial pops and crackles you apply, you're not gunna correct the Instagram Kulture® we find ourselves in. Folks love the escapism of empty pop music.

Fake romanticism is not going to fix the spiritual void for you. Nostalgia is no substitute for substance.

The exhausting thing is that I actually agree with the notion that there is an absence of authenticity in much of contemporary music. I just don't think the superficial application of technological nostalgia fixes the problem.

AutoTune™ software is not going to create a soulful, authentic singer any more than recording the same empty voice/song with last century's technology. It may however, enable some to "feel" like it's better somehow.

Just 'cause it sounds old and crackly doesn't make it more "authentic" - still as empty as an Hipstamatic™ retro filter.

May. 18 2012 04:13 PM
clive betters

man, i'm so glad, that i don't live in such a cynical world of absolutes, around the interface of art and technology. dboy: your boxes and formulas, might be a perefect place of residence for you,and that's fine,FOR YOU. to me,they seem like a tyranny,that i don't ever want to visit, let alone live in.

May. 18 2012 02:37 PM


How far do we go back to rediscover our lamented "soulful resonance"?

There's old "tech" adage: "Sh*t in, sh*t out.".

If you're searching for your missing "soulful resonance", look to the soul, not the technological tool.

I suppose a hard core nostalgic might argue that pre-electricity music is the only music with true "soulful renosance".

I call a BIG FAT BS on the ridiculousness of the cutsie, backward, romanticism of the dim-witted, anti-technology hipsterisim.

FYI: In the 1930's the PRESTO was the hottest new technology. The original iPod.

Oop!! BS!!

May. 18 2012 01:41 PM
Jeffrey Faoro from NJ

Thanks and kudos to The 78 Project for putting its beautiful low-fi sound and sensibilities and its toasty warm acetate in support of a great music cause. A 78 recording manufactured LIVE on-air, followed by John Schaefer’s nimble thumbs playing the mbira on NS! What an evening of "hands on" music!

May. 18 2012 01:23 PM
clive betters

why,because the analog world has some soulful resonance,that we're sorely missing. that's why. excessive tech BS, is sucking the humanity out of art/music. that's why....

May. 17 2012 09:03 PM



May. 17 2012 02:28 PM
Ken Braun from Nutley, NJ

As it happens, this week my colleagues and I are having a hell of a time trying to eliminate the clicks and pops from a well-worn 78 recorded in the Belgian Congo in 1951. It doesn't have to be perfect, just listenable.

May. 17 2012 02:18 PM
jeff from nyc

When I was a kid, there was a booth at the observation deck of the Empire State Building where you could record direct to disk. I took it home and played it for my little sister who freaked out that my voice was coming out of the record player.

May. 17 2012 12:02 PM

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