Bone Buyers Beware

Orignal X-Ray Record

Orignal X-Ray Record

We have been contacted by several people who have bought x-ray records online (usually from a Russian source) asking if they are genuine. It is difficult to tell definitively without actually examining them but from the images, the look of the surface (and often from the sound) our impression is that many of them are modern. That is fine is you know what you are getting but fraudulent if they are being sold as original Soviet era bootlegs*

As a result of the X-Ray Audio Project, a lot more people know about bone records and understandably some want to own one for themselves - so inevitably a market has developed with crazy prices being asked. Where there is money to be made, there are people wanting to make it …. Even we have been contacted by a Russian guy offering to sell us records he has cut himself,**

So generally we would caution people against buying online but to at least be careful with regard to the following:

Modern x-ray record of Marc Almond performing Vadim Kozin’s song Druzbha (Friendship) at Rough Trade Records 2017

  • If the song or artist dates from after 1964 / 1965 (the x-ray culture mainly died out then)

  • If the image seems very clear or clean (old records deteriorate and surviving ones are usually dirty)

  • If the tone of the image is blue- green (modern x-ray film is a different colour than old film)

  • If the image is of a skull or something dramatic (always much rarer than ribs or indistinct images)

  • The surface is very smooth, shiny or seems like plastic (modern x-rays are a different material than old ones)

If buying from Ebay etc, ask for a guarantee that a record is original from the era (not just recorded on an old machine)

The sound of a modern x-ray is different than that of an old one - they tend to be quieter with a lot of high frequency ‘swishing’ noise rather than a more vinyl / shellac type crackle and hiss.


*Of course, modern X-ray records are also cool - we cut them ourselves as part of our live performances and demonstrations - but just don’t be fooled by fakes and understand what you are buying.

** In some ways of course in ‘the spirit of bootlegging’ and even in the original x-ray era, punters never really knew what they were getting but we are only interested in buying original records for this archive, not for profit. If you have records you can contribute, please be in touch.