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Jazz on Bones
April 15, 2012 8:57 PM   Subscribe

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. While the authorities of the Soviet Union decided they didn't want the people to hear Rock 'n' Roll, the people had other plans. X-Ray Plans.
posted by symbioid (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Further research shows this livejournal post that contains sound samples of the records (along with photos).
posted by symbioid at 9:00 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Amazing. Thank you for a great post.
posted by tickingclock at 9:14 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


an underground roentgenizdat, or x-ray press
That may, very possibly, be the best word ever invented. Roentgenizdat. Awesome.
posted by Malor at 9:15 PM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always knew that rock bands with skulls on their album covers were a bunch of wussy posers. I just never knew why.
posted by darksasami at 9:24 PM on April 15, 2012


Fascinating, thanks!
posted by carter at 9:32 PM on April 15, 2012


I think "Roentgenizdat" is twee for the sake of being twee. Typing it into Google leads to a wealth of hits, but they all seem to be versions of the same blog post. The word is an obvious combination of "Roentgen" (x-rays are known by their discoverer's name in much of Europe) and "izdat," the Russian root meaning "to issue" or "put out." You find it in the Russian words for "edition," "publication," and so on (and, obviously, in the term "samizdat").
posted by Nomyte at 9:32 PM on April 15, 2012


Like that somehow doesn't make it awesome, Nomyte? Sheesh.

All words have to be invented somewhere.
posted by Malor at 9:39 PM on April 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


The awesome word of the day is: Eiswürfler.
posted by Nomyte at 9:50 PM on April 15, 2012


This is why I love the internet - I would never have known about cool things like this otherwise.

This, and dogs that can jump rope.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:54 PM on April 15, 2012


I saw some documentary not too long ago which said that the Beatles were instrumental (heh) in bringing down the USSR, and that x-ray recordings were part of how their music was distributed.

I think that's awesome.
posted by hippybear at 10:00 PM on April 15, 2012


Google Books has appearances of roentgenizdat in books published in the nineties and possibly earlier, though nothing for рентгениздат. So, not an invention by the author of the blog post at any rate.
posted by XMLicious at 10:07 PM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Beatles were instrumental (heh) in bringing down the USSR

But... they were a vocal group.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:44 PM on April 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


The blog post's author (Kevin Kelly) is quoting an article by Trey/Tracy Donovan, whose website is dead at the moment, but Wayback has the article going back to 2001. It has citations as late as 1994, so presumably was written in that 6-year period.
posted by hattifattener at 10:52 PM on April 15, 2012


Another effect of the official Soviet distaste for things rockular was a high level of phone box vandalism. You might want to strap on six strings of shreddy goodness, but you couldn't buy an electric guitar... then someone found out that the earpieces in phone box receivers contained all the nubbins to make pick-ups. The rest, you could improvise.
posted by Devonian at 1:41 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


You might want to strap on six strings of shreddy goodness, but you couldn't buy an electric guitar... then someone found out that the earpieces in phone box receivers contained all the nubbins to make pick-ups. The rest, you could improvise.

And they were pretty good at improvising as well. I've heard that there was a (semi-)underground workshop at the Riga railway yards that produced perfect replicas of Gibsons, down to the engravings on the machine heads -- perfect, that is, until the first time you played it in even slightly damp conditions when it would pretty much just melt away because the workshop had used subpar materials.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:34 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Previously.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:22 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Beatles were instrumental (heh) in bringing down the USSR

But... they were a vocal group.

Oh, no, you did not, flapjax at midnite.

Do not go there. You have been warned!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2012


Ha. I saw this post and thought it had been posted here before, but only when AzraelBrown linked the previously did I realize I'm the one who posted about it before.
posted by snofoam at 11:14 AM on April 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's another interesting Beatles/medical imaging/X-ray link:

EMI was the commercial developer of CT (computed tomography) scans. At the time they were developing the machines, the Beatles were an important source of income.

From Wikipedia: "It has been claimed that thanks to the success of The Beatles, EMI could fund research and build early models for medical use."
posted by kristi at 9:23 PM on April 16, 2012


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