Roentgenizdat is the practice of imprinting an audio track on to discarded x-ray plates to then be played on a record player or gramophone, developed by underground music pirates in the Soviet Union during the 1950s until it was made illegal by the Kremlin in 1959. The name roentgenizdat comes from the combination of roentgen ray (another word for X-ray) and samizdat (“self-published”, or underground literature). As well as literature, much western music (including rock and jazz, etc.) was banned… X-ray records were of poor quality and seldom lasted for more than a few months, but they still contained the precious forbidden music, and as such were treasured by all who could get their hands on them - Dave Loder

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In Soviet Russia during the 1950’s, underground music lovers would make bootleg albums pressed on discarded X-ray film. The records were called “roentgenizdat,” or “X-ray pressed” records. Western music was largely banned in the USSR, and so music lovers had to copy smuggled records themselves, using very basic equipment. In place of expensive vinyl, they discovered that old X-ray film, liberated from hospital dumpsters, worked well enough, and thus roentgenizdat were born. In fact, they were a key part of a vibrant underground music scene, opposed at every turn by the state. In 1959, with the establishment of an official “Music Patrol,” many roentgenizdat distributors were actually sent to prison.

"Roentgenizdat" or "X-Ray Pressed" records are 7-inch bootlegs made from discarded X-Ray plates found in hospital skips. They originated in the 1950s within the underground nightspots of the USSR and Eastern Europe, and contained pirated music from the West.

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A few are on sale here: http://wanderer-records.com/wanderer.php?keyword=film&media=flexi

Roentgenizdat, Russian Bone Records


"Something I don’t think my dad was involved in directly, but his friends were, was that the dubbing of records often happened on x-ray paper, because you can cut it like a lathe. They would get their doctor friends to give them the x-ray paper that they were throwing away. Part of my obsession with skulls is that they referred to these dubs as bone records or something. You have, like, this Led Zeppelin record on a random somebody’s head x-ray." - Oneohtrix Point Never interview in The Wire, Feb 2013.


A Short History of Bone on X-Ray Audio

These Bones were medical X-Ray fluorography sheets unofficially obtained from hospitals, cut into discs and embossed with the grooves of bootlegged gramophone records - a kind of medical version of a DJ dub plate. The quality was poor and the discs wore out quickly but the cost was low, just a couple of roubles compared with the fabulous cost of an actual Western LP.