When people used to press bootleg recordings onto X-Rays to pass around Soviet Russia

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/12/02/when-people-used-to-press-bootleg-recordings-onto-x-rays-to-pass-around-soviet-russia.html




I just watched “Hipsters,” a Russian musical, that has some pretty fun scenes where characters are listening to and in one case cutting copies of records onto X-Ray film: the movie started with a scene of a smoker getting x-rays and I said to my wife, “I wonder if this is going where I think it is?”


This is for our correspondent, Thom.

I can’t quite figure out how that wiggly line turns into a Sgt Pepper. I can share though that actually seeing a lathe cut into a virgin slab of vinyl is something worth seeing.

I was so excited when I put my first LP out that I followed the process every step of the way. Some of the most fun was in the mastering studio where I did in fact see the lathe cutting the lacquer though a microscope.

Nowadays the whole analog process in retrospect feels a little Rube Goldberg.


Yes, I was just about to mention this film. There’s a scene where one of the kids is flipping through his “record collection” looking for “emphysema” which has a hot swing tune on it.


There was a movie (drama) about people who did that and I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it.

YES! I loved how Boris (Bob) knew his record collection by both the malady on the film and the tune contained therewithin!


Cutting records into plastic? Those MAD Russians!



Ah – remember when you used to be able to get records on promotional cereal boxes? The box would have a plastic sheet pressed onto one side that you could then cut out and play on your record player. Naturally, the quality, regardless of whether the record was on the inside or outside of the box, was execrable.


Honeycomb cereal had “spooky Halloween stories” on their boxes when I was a kid. I remember playing them on a record player not too different than what @RickMycroft shows above. “Execrable”? I don’t think we had any presuppositions about what a record was supposed to sound like back then. As an avid record collector/digger I can say that 99% of the time kids records are trashed anyway.




Thanks for the link. As suspected, rather than being ‘bootleg’ which involves releasing material from unauthorized sources, these are ‘pirated’ recordings of an official source.

I read about these years ago, and still hope to stumble across one. It’d be a stone gas to hear an awful and scratchy Dark Side Of The Moon on some poor mofos sternum.

Netflix has a Russian TV show from 2015 titled Fartsa, which is the Russian word for black marketeer, about kids in 60’s Soviet Union making a buck off of X-ray albums. It was a good show, too bad there was only one season.

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