Amy X Neuburg & Steve Espinola: Live Layering/Cutting of 78s

Amy X Neuburg is an avant-cabaret composer-singer who incorporates looping and layering into most of her work. Steve Espinola is a singer-songwriter who is obsessed with old music and old things. Together, they asked: Were any of our current “electronic” performance tendencies possible 70+ years ago, prior to the modern technologies that inspire and facilitate their use?

This is probably the most insane stunt that I (Steve) have ever been involved with as a record cutter. If you stick with the video, your patience will be rewarded: The end is rather extraordinary, if I do say so.

Live layering using 1930s-40s recording and playback technology: 78 rpm record cutting and hand-cranked Victrolas (actually, one Victrola, one HMV). Composed for a December 13, 2008, performance at Roulette, NYC.

The recording device was a 1946 Wilcox Gay Recordio 6B30 home record cutter. No vacuuming was used, and that’s why I’m not giving my full attention to the singing: Swarf tangles had messed up several of the rehearsals.