The X-Ray Audio documentary ‘Roentgenizdat’ was awarded the best documentary award at the Russian film festival in London. It premiered at the Raindance festival in September and has been getting rave reviews.

It will next be shown at the  28th Trieste Film Festival on 21st January 2017 when it will be accompanied by an X-Ray Audio exhibition of original bone disc, films, sounds, ephemera and images

The screening  will be followed by a live event with Q+A and live x-ray cutting from a very special musical performance by a guest star performer.

For more details go HERE

Other dates to follow.


Stephen Coates wil be discussing the cold war Soviet X-Ray bootleggers at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on November 12th as part of an event of forbidden culture.

The event is "VHS in Off-World / Film Dubbing as Subversion" with Irina Margareta Nistor

"Between 1984-89 in the apartments of tower blocks in Bucharest, capital of a sequestered communist Romania, thousands of pirated videocassettes of forbidden films from the West were screened illegally. The disorientating foreignness of these technicoloured, ideology-busting films were tempered by the voice of Irina Margareta Nistor, who frequently skirted exposure and arrest by Nicolae Ceausescu's dreaded Securitate whilst defiantly translating and dubbing the films into Romanian. In this unique event, Nistor joins curator/serial digressionist David Ellis for audio-visual essays and a discussion of forbidden culture, incorporating the screening of original VHS material, illustrative slides, plus 'live' dubbing and a Q&A in a homage to this lesser-known heroine of cinema."


Alice Nicolov has written a very considered piece on X-Ray Audio for DAZED 

“People tend to tell this story as one of Russian hipsters breaking the system by pirating Western music. Well, that's just not accurate at all.”

Stephen Coates is explaining the remarkable story behind his X-Ray Audio Project. Coates, a musician who’s been performing in Russia for ten years with his band The Real Tuesday Weld, four years ago stumbled across what he thought was a vinyl-type disc cut onto an x-ray in a St. Petersburg flea market.,"


We wil be at the KRAKE FESTIVAL in Berlin on July 27th.

Stephen Coates will be telling the history of the Soviet x-ray records and Aleks Kolkowski will make a live demonstration of x-ray cutting with a performance by very special guest ALEXANDER HACKE.  

More details on Facebook  HERE

For German speakers there have been two recent pieces on the x-ray audio project in the German Media:



We are hoping to be back in Berlin on November 17th for a major exhibition at the Musik / Tanz Theater.


The X-Ray Audio documentary will be screening at the Poolinale Music Film Festival in Vienna on April 16th. The screening will be followed b a question and answers interview with Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield.

Details are HERE


The X-Ray Audio exhibition of original bone bootlegs and associated film and images will be at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown from April 16th - May 28th as part of the 'WHY IS IT ALWAYS DECEMBER?" show.

Go HERE for more details


We are very pleased that X-RAY AUDIO: THE DOCUMENTARY  is HERE

"Cold War Leningrad: In a culture where the recording industry was ruthlessly controlled by the state, music lovers discovered an extraordinary alternative means of reproduction: they repurposed used x-ray film as the base for records of forbidden songs.

Giving blood every week to earn enough money to buy a recording lathe, one bootlegger Rudy Fuchs cuts banned music onto such discarded x-rays to be sold on street corners by shady dealers.

It was ultimate act of punk resistance, a two-fingered salute to the repressive regime that gave a generation of young Soviets access to forbidden Western and Russian music, an act for which Rudy and his fellow bootleggers would pay a heavy price."

The culmination of four years of research and countless trips to Russia to track down Rudy, buyer and amateur dealer Nick Markovitch and Beatles’ fanatic Kolya Vasin, this short documentary gives an evocative and intimate insight into one of the most extraordinary, untold stories of twentieth century music. 

Produced by The Vinyl Factory and Antique Beat. Watch it HERE



We are very pleased that our next live event will be London's biggest and best independent record store Rough Trade East in Brick Lane on March 9th. And we are even more pleased that we will be joined by legendary torch singer Marc Almond.

In the first half Stephen Coates will tell the story of the Soviet bone bootleggers and their x-ray recordings and in the second, Marc will perform two songs which will be recorded direct to x-ray by Aleks Kolowski.

In addition to his extraordinary pop career, Marc has a longheld love of Russian culture and song. In the 1990s he toured Siberia and recently presented a wonderful BBC Radio documentary about tragic Soviet singer Vadim Kozin.  You can listen to that HERE

Kozin's records were copied to bone bootleg after his catastrophic fall from grace and imprisonment.

The event is free on a first come first served basis but you can guarantee entry by reserving a copy of our book 'X-Ray Audio: The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone'.

Details HERE


For our US friends, Stephen Coates will be on NPR's All Things Considered program later today (Saturday 9 January).

He will be talking about the Soviet X-Ray bootleg culture with presenter Michel Martin playing music form Bones records and an excerpt from the upcoming X-Ray audio documentary with an interview with original bone bootlegger Rudy Fuchs.

What is 'Music on the Bones'?

Great film piece by Russian correspondent Alex Kan on the project on BBC NEWS today. It was shot at The Horse Hospital in London inside out exhibition and on the day of an an amazing live event when we recorded thereminist Lydia Kavina  to x-ray.



BBC Russia made a short video piece on our live event at The Horse Hospital with thereminist Lydia Kavina last week.

 It translates:

"In London, they are listening to  the sound of "music on the bones”

Today we can easily download thousands of songs to our phones and iPods without thinking about the process of recording and playback. But a little more than half a century ago in the Soviet Union, fans of forbidden music - jazz, rock and roll and emigre  songs - had to resort to almost unbelievable means - they recorded music onto the surface of X-rays.

Thus was born the unique socio-cultural phenomenon, known as "Music on the bones", "rock on the edges" or "roentgenizdat."

In Russia, this story is almost completely forgotten. In the West, nobody knew about it. Until now when a few British enthusiasts, accidentally came across "music on the bones,” have engaged in a deep and serious study of this phenomenon.

They not only hold exhibitions, publish books and are preparing to release a documentary, but they have revived the process of recording and playback of music on X-ray film.

Alexander Kan, columnist of the Russian Service for Cultural Affairs visited the London exhibition of the project"

You can watch it HERE

X-RAY AUDIO live with thereminist LYDIA KAVINA

In a very special live event on Dec 11th at London's The Horse Hospital, we will be previewing the X-Ray Audio film. The full documentary features interviews with Russian bone bootleggers and buyers, archive footage and various commentators.

Following the screening, we will be joined  LYDIA KAVINA, thereminist extraordinaire, to provide a live demonstration of recording onto X-Ray plates using vintage analogue record-cutting lathes and a commentary on groove-based recording techniques on plastic.

Lydia is the grand niece of Lev Theremin and generally regarded as one of the best therminists in the world.  She will be accompanied by pianist Edmund Davie.

For tickets and more information go HERE

X-Ray Audio at DJ Food's Flexibition

Vinyl junkie, collector, designer and cut up expert DJ Food (aka Strictly Kev) has an extraordinary blog site devoted to flexi discs.  It features items from his amazing collection and feature on the history and culture of flexis. This month's post is by X-Ray Audio on the Soviet Bone Flexis.  

You can check it out, and a whole weird and wonderful world of vinyl wonkiness, HERE 

DJ Food will be with us on December 5th for a special live event 'A Night at the Flexibition' playing and talking lexis during the X-Ray Exhibition at The Horse Hospital. 

See HERE for more details.

Check out DJ Food on his unparalleled collection of flexi discs.

X-Ray Audio at Vivid Projects

Next week we head up to Birmingham for a two week residency at Vivid Projects as part of the 'This Mortal Coil' season. The exhibition has been expanded substantially with images, sound and film.

The private view is on November 6th and Stephen and Aleks will be hosting a live event on November 13th with live x-ray cutting from a performance by a local musician.

For details go HERE

X-Ray Audio in Russian Beyond the Headlines

In an article 'Boogie bones: Underground Soviet X-ray LPs come to UK' journalist Aliide Naylor tells:

"Two British musicians are recreating the underground Soviet practice of ‘pressing’ music onto x-rays, delving into its history while demonstrating the process in cities around the world. November will see the pair stage shows at two UK Rough Trade stores, as well as at Birmingham’s Vivid Arts media lab.

Stephen Coates, photographer Paul Heartfield and musician and vintage recording specialist Aleks Kolkowski have a passion for authentic Soviet sounds.


Later this year, Coates plans to release a book via Strange Attractor Press and an album with a twist: A collection of his own songs, each one printed on an x-ray of a different body part (made the same way as a vinyl record), which will together compose a whole human skeleton.

Traditionally a marauder’s symbol, skull-and-bones images lend themselves to this unique form of music piracy. The idea emerged in the repressive atmosphere of the Soviet Union, where enthusiasts traded banned and rare genres recorded onto x-ray plates. Censorship fostered an unofficial culture, where writers, artists and musicians forged channels to distribute their own and forbidden foreign music, mostly rock and roll and jazz.

While censored literature was easily reproduced by hand – ‘samizdat’ – music posed a greater challenge. The use of roughly cut x-rays – ‘roentgenizdat’ – peaked in the 1940s and '50s, before technological developments in the post-Stalinist period gave rise to new and better mediums. There was another reason too: by 1958, roentgenizdat had been made illegal in Russia, resulting in distribution networks being broken up and offenders imprisoned."

For the rest of the article go HERE



Vinyl Factory have run a piece on our upcoming performance at the East End Film Festival on July 3rd.

Russian Art and Culture also ran this piece

As well as being the UK's premier producer of new vinyl records, Vinyl Factory do amazing work and collaborations -  most recently with artist Christian Marclay at White Cube.

We will be collaborating with them on the upcoming X-Ray Audio documentary later in the year.

For tickets to the event next week go HERE


X-RAY AUDIO - The Book

We are very pleased to announce the publication of the book "X-RAY AUDIO - The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone"  by Strange Attractor Press.

Strange Attractor have an extraordinary legacy of publishing books on fringe science and culture and are the perfect partner for the X-Ray Audio project.  Edited by Stephen Coates, the book is a lavish production filled with wonderful images of Bone records taken by photographer Paul Heartfield and featuring interviews with pre-eminent Russian music journalist Artyemi Troitsky, bone bootlegger Rudy Fuchs, bone buyer Kolya Vasin and early recording expert Aleks Kolkowski with an essay on the history of forbidden Soviet song by writer Maksim Kravchinsky and a foreword by Sukhdev Sandhu.

The book is available to pre-order now with a special pre-order limited edition containing an X-Ray flexi of Bone music by original bootlegger and poet Boris Taigin.

Go HERE for more details

The Publication is supported by Arts Council England

TEDx (Ray) Krakow

Stephen presented the story of X-Ray Audio at this year's TEDx conference in Krakow on Saturday, June 13, 2015 to a very enthusiastic audience. 

You can wtach below