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Dead medium: Soviet "bone music" samizdat recordings
From: montfort@well.com (Nick Montfort)
Source(s): "A Western Boyhood, in Russia," by Joseph Brodsky. Excerpt from his essay "Spoils of War," in the recent book ON GRIEF AND REASON. Harper's Magazine, March 1995, p34.

This was apparently just an unusual way of producing vinyl records (themselves a dead medium), only briefly described here. However, as this form of record reached a certain geography that was otherwise cut off, and since bone music had its own network of distribution and underground production, I think it's worth mention. The comment in parenthesis is Brodsky's.

"...in the Fifties every city youth had his own collection of so-called bone music. 'Bone music' was a sheet of X-ray film with a homemade copy of some jazz piece on it. The technology of the copying process was beyond my grasp, but I trust that it was a relatively simple procedure, since the supply was steady and the price reasonable.

"One could purchase this somewhat moribund-looking stuff (talk about the nuclear age!) in the same fashion as those sepia pictures of Western movie stars: in parks, in public toilets, in flea markets, in the then famous 'cocktail halls'..."

nm

(((bruces adds: Artemy Troitsky's BACK IN THE USSR, a history of the Soviet pop underground, also describes the very extensive Soviet practice of creating and circulating illegal recordings on used X-ray plates.)))

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