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December 30, 2014

Bone Music: How Banned Western Music in the Soviet Union Was Printed on Repurposed X-Ray Records

Desperate times called for desperate measures.
With the aid of a special device, people started pressing banned jazz and rock n’ roll music on thick radiographs scavenged from the dumpsters of hospitals. X-rays were plentiful (not to mention cheap), and while the records could only be pressed on a single side, the music they produced using a standard turntable was passable. The recordings even had a catchy name: bone music. From an interview with author Anya von Bremzen via NPR:
“They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole. You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan—forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.” | Colossal

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 30, 2014 5:06 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

That is really really neat. Thanks for that.

Posted by: pbird [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2014 5:46 PM

They were able to *press* an album but nobody had a drill for the center hole?

Posted by: ghostsniper [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2014 6:30 PM

Been doing radiography over 40 years. Never heard about that! Now I know why I have so much music in my head! THANKS!

Posted by: JoeDaddy [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 31, 2014 3:30 AM

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