Music on the (skull) bones, Rilke and Primal Sound

"The coronal suture of the skull .. has–let us assume–a certain similarity to the closely wavy line which the needle of a phonograph engraves on the receiving, rotating cylinder of the apparatus" 

In 1919, relatively early in the development of recorded sound, the Austrian - Bohemian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 - 1926) wrote an extraordinary essay describing a fantasy of playing the coronal suture of a human skull with a gramophone needle as if it were the groove on a wax cylinder.* Rilke speculated on the ‘primal sound’ that such playing could reveal and the unimaginable music of the feelings that are naturally inscribed on the surface of the skull.**

In some elliptical way, this evokes certain symbolic feelings associated with the 'Bones' bootlegs. Although the images of the X-Rays on the discs was almost certainly not as important to their owners as the music they contained, the poetical resonance of images of the interiors of Soviet citizens and the inscribed grooves of music they privately loved is virtually unavoidable - at least for us. 

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

*   For the full text of Rainer's Primal Sound piece, go HERE.

** X-Ray Audio contributor ALEKS KOLKOSWKI provided music, voice over and research for AURA SATZ's  film SOUND SEAM which draws on Rilke's text for its inspiration.

Thanks to Andrew Spira