Russians used to bootleg Western music onto X-rays

Have you heard of “bone music” or “X-ray audio” or “ribs”? D.U. wasn’t familiar until we stumbled upon some documentaries on YouTube. These terms refer to music pressed onto X-rays by Russian bootleggers during the Cold War.

Watching these docs, it becomes clear that compared to Russian music fans back then, we had it easy in the West. The bootleggers risks arrest and worse when they cut rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and other forms of music the Soviet authorities banned onto X-rays using lathe machines they built.

More on the how and the why is detailed below. First there’s a TED talk from music producer and musician Stephen Coates.

There’s a few other docs, such as one from The Vinyl Factory that also features Coates.

Over at X-ray Audio, from the Bureau of Lost Culture, there’s resources like a bone music archive, a blog, a link to a BBC audio documentary, and a trailer for another video documentary.

Related: Andvinyly pressed people’s ashes onto vinyl.



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