How Soviet 'Hipsters' Secretly Shared Western Music By Pressing Records on X-Rays

artist: Misc date: 08/15/2014 category: entertainment

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How Soviet 'Hipsters' Secretly Shared Western Music By Pressing Records on X-Rays
Back in the days of rock 'n' roll revolution, it wasn't easy to get your hands on the fresh rock sound, especially in U.S.S.R.

A cool story has recently surfaced, explaining how soviet "stilyagi," or "hipsters" as we might call them today, found a way to effectively distribute the notorious music using quite an odd method - X-rays.

An article published on FastCoDesign describes the matter in great detail, explaining how stilyagis used to press records on disposed X-rays that they collected from hospital dumpsters.

"These records only played on a single side, and the quality was low, but they were extremely cheap: A single disc only cost about one ruble on the black market, as opposed to five rubles for a two sided-disc. And it was subversive," the article reads.

"According to Artemy Troitsky’s 1987 book 'Back in the USSR: The True Story of Rock in Russia,' they often contained surprises for the listener: 'Let's say, a few seconds of American rock 'n' roll, then a mocking voice in Russian asking: 'So, thought you'd take a listen to the latest sounds, eh?' followed by a few choice epithets addressed to fans of stylish rhythms, then silence.'

"Soon, an entire underground network of bone music record distributors popped up, called the roentgenizdat, or X-Ray press. Analogous to the samizdat that reproduced censored publications across the Soviet bloc, the roentgenizdat was soon distributing millions of Western records."

However, the officials caught on and "bone music" was banned in 1958. For more info, check out the 2008 Russian movie "Stilyagi."

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