X-Ray Audio – Bone Music

When I first encountered “Bone Music” I thought it was a reference to custom record albums created using the ash of a deceased person.  Not so.  I’ve come to learn that bone music is bootleg music pressed on to discarded x-ray film in the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, western jazz and Rock and Roll were banned in the Soviet Union.  Like most contraband, people found ways to circumvent the system.  Records were smuggled into the Soviet Union.  But the challenge was to find ways to reproduce them.  Sadly, MP3s were still decades away.  Innovators found that discarded x-ray film could be used to etch the grooves of record albums.  Hence – Bone Music.  According to a National Geographic article,   Ruslan Bugaslovski and Boris Taigin developed the method for producing records from scarce materials in 1946.

Nothing can stop those who truly love their music.

There was an exhibit that you can read about here.

” In 50s Soviet Union, western records such as Rock Around the Clock and Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy were banned. But intrepid music lovers found a way to defy the authorities by making bootleg pressings on discarded x-rays”

For much more information on Bone Music, check out the NPR piece on Stephen Coates book X-Ray Audio