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Arborea records for the 78 Project | Photo by Frank Reis | The 78 Project

John Lomax Sr. and his son Alan traveled throughout the 1930s recording blues and ballads on farms, in prisons, and rural communities. New Yorkers Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Wright were fascinated by the Lomax family’s work in field recording, and teamed up in 2010 to create The 78 Project, where they traveled the country field-recording and discovering America’s contemporary musicians. They used a 1930s Presto direct-to-record recorder, which is the same technology Lomax family used in their travels: one microphone, one 78 rpm disc, and one three-minute take.

The project – which has spotlighted musicians like Arborea, Adam Arcuragi, Dawn Landes, John C Reilly and Tom Brosseau – started as a web series, and raised money for a feature film through crowd-funding site, Kickstarter in 2012. Released last September, the film chronicles their trips on the road recording from New York to California, with commentary by experts in field recording sharing tidbits about how the acetate discs are made.

The film has been on a screening tour since its release, and will show at International House next Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m. Following the film, there will be a special live performance by Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen, which will be recorded and cut to disc live. More information on the event can be found on the IHP website.

The 78 Project Movie – trailer from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

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