X-ray phonograms return: Massive attack, Jonsi and others released records “on the bones”

    Massive Attack, Jónsi from Sigur Ros, Noam Chomsky, Pussy Riot and others recorded radiographs of previously unreleased compositions as part of a joint project by The University of the Underground, Bureau of Lost Culture and the Museum of Digital Collectors ( Digital museum Collecteurs). The project aims to counter censorship and support pluralism of opinions. The records are planned to be sold at an auction, the profit from which will be directed to the development of the underground university project.

    X-ray phonograms or otherwise, “music on the bones” became widespread in the USSR from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. The records were produced using the artisanal method in connection with strict musical censorship, which did not allow the publication of a large number of performers, groups and even whole styles. Under the cut, I’ll talk more about how the music on the bones appeared and about the modern project, symbolically reviving archaic technology.

    Music on the ribs and censorship in the USSR

    From the mid-30s to the mid-80s, the Union had an unprecedented censorship of certain musical styles that were popular in the West. At first, formalistic trends in academic music fell under the ban, then jazz, foxtrot, and somewhat later, the emerging rock and roll and the vast majority of its derivatives suffered the same fate.

    Thanks to trophies exported from Germany and liberated after the German occupation of the countries, some Soviet citizens were able to become more familiar with Western music. This contributed to the fact that after the end of the Second World War in Soviet society, a need arose for alternatives to ideologically sterile and, therefore, rather monotonous Soviet art. In many ways, jazz and foxtrot became such an alternative.

    Western music was often considered by the Soviet leadership alien, harmful, decadent cultural influence, and, accordingly, fell under various kinds of prohibitions and restrictions. This led to strict censorship prohibitions on the publication of records of almost all existing jazz styles, and later bans on the performance and publication of rock music. The reaction of society to these restrictions was the self-publishing of records on the bones.

    For the publication, sale of “music on the ribs”, as well as for the storage of radiographs with ideologically incorrect music, they were punished, including imprisonment. There is a popular myth that there is a certain article for “worship of the West,” but in reality there was no such article in the Criminal Code of the RSFSR. The sale of “unwanted” records was punished more often as speculation (before 1960, article 107, after 1960 - 154 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR and similar articles in the Criminal Code of the Union republics).

    Until 1960, the record dealer was shone from 5 years of camps with partial or complete confiscation of property. In the Criminal Code of the RSFSR of the 60th year, a wider range of punishments was envisaged, where a banal monetary fine (from 300 rubles), correctional labor, and imprisonment from 3 to 7 years could be applied to the distributor of X-ray publishing.

    Formally, storing, listening and even recording on bones was not punishable. But in fact, for the latter, as well as for the sale, article 58 could be applied, for example, 58.17
    “Production, storage for the purpose of distribution and distribution of campaign literature of a counter-revolutionary nature”
    , which was punished by imprisonment for a term of at least one year.

    The disks were made using a makeshift recorder, and X-ray images based on cellulose diacetate were used. The recorder copied the recording from the original record, cutting the tracks on the tape. The recording quality left much to be desired, but before the mass distribution of tape recorders, this was the only way to replicate prohibited content.

    Over time, such records tended to curl, and therefore they tried to store them in one envelope along with standard vinyl discs. Thus, Bill Haley's “Rock around the Clock” could peacefully coexist with V.I. Lenin.

    Project Details

    Currently involved in the project are Massive Attack, frontman Sigur Rós Jonsey, the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, as well as Nástio Mosquito, Alex Somers (Alex Somers) and Neil Harbisson (Neil Harbisson). Each disc released is an X-ray image that contains one of the unreleased tracks of the project participants, the auction is available online , $ 1 must be donated to access the auction.

    It is impossible to know in advance exactly which tracks are in the collection. To foster interest, the project participants posted the inscription:

    “This is one of ... to be archived at the Library of Dangerous Thoughts”

    “this is one of the (specified number for a particular artist - Approx. Aut.) Original works that will be archived in the library of dangerous thoughts”

    Circulations are strictly limited, under some pictures with recordings there are inscriptions indicating that they are unique. At the time of writing this article 03/31/2019 the cost of the most popular lots comes to $ 400. The most popular, as expected, were the “bones” from Massive Attack. 9 out of 10 x-ray phonograms exist in a single copy.

    It is also interesting that the authors of the project recommend using the acquired radiographs not for listening to the recorded tracks, but as works of fine art. They directly write that they do not guarantee the normal reproduction of music on bones more than five times.


    The project has already attracted the attention of the media, so it is highly likely that some pictures with recordings will be bought quite quickly and at a fairly high price (21 days remain until the end of the auction). The excitement fuels the uniqueness of the recordings and the fame of the performers. Advocates of high fidelity of reproduction, who want to hear these tracks recorded not on pictures, can only hope that the musicians will publish these recordings in a different format.

    We do not have bone music in the catalog , but there are traditional vinyl records , as well as equipment for playing them and much more.

    content used:
    victorprofessor.livejournal.com (probably victorborisov.livejournal.com )
    If you are against using your photo content, please let us know and we will replace it.

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