TP-028, Nat Adderley's Work Song is now available

Author Topic: A Project of a Different Speed  (Read 1634 times)

Offline ironbut

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A Project of a Different Speed
« on: May 21, 2012, 04:08:23 PM »
Fans of WNYC are probably already familiar with "The 78 Project" but for those who are not, I cut and pasted their "about us".

The 78 Project is a documentary and recording journey inspired by Alan Lomax and his quest to capture music where it lived throughout the early 20th century. Our project brings the spirit of his work into the present as we pair breakthrough musicians with the songs and the fascinating recording technology of the past. With just one microphone, one authentic 1930′s PRESTO direct-to-disc recorder, and one blank lacquer disk, musicians are given the opportunity to make a recording anywhere they choose. What we have found is that the film, music and feelings that result defy space and time, living music inspired by ghosts.

Here's a link to their site where you can watch some of the action taking place;

http://the78project.com/

Cool huh?
Well, these one of a kind acetates are currently on eBay to benefit the Musicians Sustenance Program which seems like a very worthwhile charity.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/110880251810?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649#ht_1615wt_1156
steve koto
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Offline steveidosound

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Re: A Project of a Different Speed
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 11:32:55 PM »
Thanks so much for the link Steve ! I did not know.
Well,
This is right up my alley of "cool".
A few observations. The artists seem to dig this. It is sad that it seems nobody has been willing to pony up on eBay for one of the discs.
 I am amazed that they didn't use a better mic although the one shown more "period" but still not as early or potentially as good as the cutter. I believe it is a Shure 51.
http://www.shure.com/idc/groups/public/documents/webcontent/us_pro_51_ug.pdf
 The little modern Chinese player they played it back on, while probably not going to destroy the lacquer in one play, owing to the much lighter arm, is awful sounding in every other way. (been there / owned one) By contrast the Presto uses the same push pull 45 triode  output amp for playback as it does for recording. Also, it sounds when you listen to the samples on the web page like they didn't do much to restore the motor isolation. Lots of turntable mechanical hum recorded on the discs. Again, the machine is capable of better. I have heard a restored one and it sounds about as good as a mono tape machine of the late 40s era. They made a lot of these models for many years.
A couple of other related links. -
http://www.televar.com/grshome/Presto2.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uul9lwloeZQ&feature=related
(this last is my friend's Presto recorder in the LA area)
And yes, I own an un-restored one, and a newer K-11 and a Rek-O-Kut.
I dream of doing something with a purpose built  one off stereo portable lathe, microgroove, @ 45 RPM, with a Blumlein pair of ribbons after the fashion of "No Better Than This" that John Mellencamp did with an RCA ribbon and an Ampex 600 field recorder.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Better_Than_This
(THERE, tape content at last !)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2012, 11:40:46 PM by steveidosound »
Steve Williams

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Offline ironbut

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Re: A Project of a Different Speed
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 03:17:35 AM »
I'm not sure why, but these kinds of things seem to be springing up more and more. I don't think they'll ever be mainstream but they really strike me in both the head and heart.
I really enjoyed the comments by the musicians and how they chose the particular songs. Particularly Rosanne Cash.
I heard a great interview with her a while back on "Fresh Air" (IIRC) where she talked about a list she'd inherited from her dad. It was what he considered to be the great American songs. Really interesting stuff if you have a chance to hear it.
It also made me think a little more about the situations that folks like Alan Lomax and his dad did their recording in.

As far as the execution of the concept goes, I think that you have to keep in mind that the folks that put this together are coming from a film background rather than audio.
All the same, I'm sure that you'd agree with me that I'm glad that they're doing this and really enjoy what I've watched and listened to so far.

Lots of cool stuff happening out there!

Speaking of Lomax, ( I think I mentioned this elsewhere but I don't think I posted the link here?) his family and associates have made much of Alan's recording available online on what they call the "Global Jukebox".
I wouldn't suggest trying to listen to all the files in one sitting (there are over 17,000 so far) but it's there to digest in any helpings you wish.

http://www.culturalequity.org/
steve koto
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Offline steveidosound

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Re: A Project of a Different Speed
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 07:30:07 AM »
Hi,
Didn't mean to come off negative or too critical.
Yes, I'm glad they are doing this. I am glad of the preservation of all old technology and art forms, flawed or not.
I think it somehow touches a lot of people including the artists in their heart as well as their head. It certainly does that for me in a way modern stuff seldom does.
Old analog has "mystique", where as the new digital stuff is sort of "inscrutable" by comparison.
Steve Williams

you don't want to know what equipment I listen to...