Bone music

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This is a strange story – photographs making music.

In Communist Russia during the Cold War western music was illegal and records of it were rare. There was an underground market for illicit copies, but since vinyl was unattainable, some cheap and pliable material was needed. Well, enterprising Russians discovered that X-rays were the answer!

Collecting discarded X-rays they would cut out the circular shape with scissors, gouge a hole in the centre for the spindle, and engrave the sound into the plastic acoustically.

You can imagine the sound quality, it’s not hi fi, but they made recordings of popular singers like Rosemary Clooney, Johnnie Ray and Bill Haley and the Comets. The one above is Tony Bennett.

Wanderer Records is selling these Cold War artefacts on their website and you can even listen to the music on some of them. It’s the strangest application of photography I can think of.

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