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The X-Ray Audio Project
"They are images of pain and damage overlayed with the sounds of pleasure, fragile photographs of the interiors of Soviet citizens inscribed with thematic they secretly loved"
Some older people in Russia remember seeing and hearing strange vinyl type discs when they were young. The discs had partial images of skeletons on them, were called 'Bones' or 'Ribs' and originated in the Cold War years of the Soviet Union.
In an era when the recording industry was ruthlessly controlled by the State, music lovers and bootleggers had found an incredible alternative means of making illegal copies of forbidden recordings - they repurposed used X Ray plates obtained from local hospitals.
It was an act of street enterprise. cultural resistance, technical ingenuity and human endeavour.
X-Ray Audio, a project by The Bureau of Lost Culture, is telling this amazing story with an online archive, a book, an award-winning documentary, live events and a major travelling exhibition. The project is supported by Arts Council England and has received a large amount of PRESS and media coverage.
Go HERE to see images from our exhibition
Go HERE to watch our TED talk and other films about bone music and the Soviet x-ray bootleggers
Go HERE to see and hear images and sounds of Bones discs
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We came across and began to research this story in travels to Russia over the last few years. For a musician and a photographer and lovers of all things vinyl and cold war, we knew we had to tell it. As well as the story of strange, ghostly flexi discs, it is a story of how much music can matter. Thanks to all those who have helped us, supported us, provided us with images, sounds and stories.
If you have stories to tell or discs that we can include in the X-Ray audio Project, please get in touch
THE BUREAU OF LOST CULTURE
The Bureau of Lost Culture are Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield. They are dedicated to recollecting counter-cultural stories through film, installations and broadcasts. By evoking the spirit of the forgotten underground they aim to inspire with a sense of risk and provocation.
STEPHEN COATES, is a composer, writer and music producer. He came across the subject of the X-Ray recordings when travelling to Russia to perform as The Real Tuesday Weld over the last six years. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, he is particularly interested in the interaction between music and culture.
He has been researching and interviewing the story of the X-Ray recordings in Russia researching as part of a series of projects on Soviet musical history.
For more on Stephen go here
PAUL HEARTFIELD is one of London's most experienced and respected portraitists. He has worked extensively in the music industry, photographing many international bands and musicians over the last decade.
He is the regular portrait and archive photographer for the Houses of Commons and Lords in Westminster and has photographed most of the senior British politicians of the last few years.
For more on Paul go here
For assistance, contributions, support and expertise we’d like to thank: Aleks Kolkowski, Maxim Kravchinskij, Rudolf Fuchs, Artemyi Troitsky, Maxim Kravchinskij, Galina Shtanko, Nick Markovitch, Alex Budovsky, Sergey Chernov, Sergey Korsakov, Marina Tsurtsumia, Laysan Gilmanova, Nix Stewart, Irene and Andrey, Nicola Stewart, the UK Arts Council.
For generous permission to use images and recordings: Aleksandr Khrisanov, Alexandr Moskalenko, Anatoly B, Andrei Arntgolts, Andrei Minkin, Ilya Shirokiy, Justinas Shimkauskas, Nickolay Markovich Kurganoff, Sergey Stavitsky, Valeriy, Yuri Bernikov Yuriy Boyarintsev, Yuriy Gladkov, Gregory Kachurin
All images and texts copyright X-RAY AUDIO/ BUREAU OF LOST CULURE 2019.
Rights to all text, materials, images and recordings remain with their respective owners and must not be copied, reproduced or re-posted without permission.