sound for film & video

Music week at the Brattle Theatre

From Friday, November 14 to Wednesday, November 19th, Harvard Square’s long-standing, still-standing, beloved film institution, The Brattle Theatre brings us the “Reel Music Film Festival”, featuring some new music documentaries combined with blasts from the past. Two in particular stand out for those locals of a certain age who are microphonicly inclined…


The 78 Project is on a journey across America to make one-of-a-kind 78rpm records with musicians in their hometowns using a 1930s Presto direct-to-disc recorder. With one microphone. With one blank disc. In one 3-minute take. Along the way, a kaleidoscope of technologists, historians and craftsmen from every facet of field recording – Grammy-winning producers, 78 collectors, curators from the Library of Congress and Smithsonian – provide insights and history. In Tennessee, Mississippi, California, and Louisiana, the folk singers, punk rockers, Gospel, and Cajun singers in the film share their lives through intimate performances, and find in that adventure a new connection to our cultural legacy.

Includes Live Presto Recording with Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah the Hills!

UPDATE: GO SEE THIS FILM. GO. NOW. It’s playing at the Luna Theater in Lowell for four dates this month, and the filmmakers-slash-engineers will be in person on the 15th. If you love music and you love recording, you will love this film!

Saturday, Nov. 15, 7:35 pm

Sunday, Nov. 16, 2:35 pm

Saturday, Nov. 22, 5:05 pm

Saturday, Nov. 29, 5:05 pm –


New York had CBGB, Boston had “The Rat” (1974-1997). A dank, dangerous cellar in Kenmore Square where bands from all over the world came to perform, artists and writers came to hang out, and fans of all stripes came together to create one of the most vibrant and vital music scenes in the country. This new documentary invites you to experience the stories and performances that made The Rat special, as told by the musicians who played there, the people who worked there, and those who came to support the scene.

Jeez guys, The Rat was indeed dank, but it wasn’t that dangerous — at least no more so than any other Boston music dive in early 80s (The Channel, anyone?) Being right across the street from my alma mater (The New England School of Photography) I availed myself more than a little of the food, booze and music on daily tap. For a brief period in the late 70s and early 80s Boston had the hot music scene in the country, and dozens of local bands would get signed to national contracts, be mishandled, and get promptly dropped. A handful would make it big and others would enter local legend, and all of them would pay their dues on a placemat-sized stage in a scuzzy basement near a famous ballpark.

And let me tell you, folks, if you’ve never seen “URGH! A Music War”, I can testify it’s a kind of trip you’ll never forget.

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