Vinyl underground in the U.S.S.R

Written by on March 13, 2018

Today, access to music is even over-saturated. How often have you been shown a new song, only to forget all about it after a couple of plays? We shouldn’t apologize for that though, the music world is simply offering us an overload of options. In our time of plenty, it’s nice to look back and see how ‘old timers’ shared their love for music. Forget sending a link, they had to meet their friends and swap records, holding dearly onto their precious cargo through the trip. Still – some had it worse than others, far worse. Until as far as the early 90’s, in much of the East, Communism ruled with an iron fist. Aside from food shortages and restrictions, no freedom to travel and an endless list of human rights violations, Communist governments were fearful of  the spread of ‘Western influence’. Major bans on outside music were in place, with some people spending many years behind bars for the simple desire to share and explore the world of music.

Despite heavy penalties, the rhythm knew no borders, and the sound of jazz to rock’n’roll spread far and wide, infecting all those that came into contact with joy and body-grooving symptoms.  For those that took the risk of jail time to share and listen to their newfound jams from around the world, the crazy Communist laws weren’t the only problem. When vinyl was the main format, before reel-to-rell and the cassette was available, copying vinyl wasn’t easy, especially when there was no access to the materials needed for production. A great trait of the human species though, is our ability to adapt. In what was then the U.S.S.R, (today’s Russia), a young lad by the name of Bogoslowski  did just that, adapting to the scarcity of vinyl by pressing onto x-ray sheets. Medical X-ray prints were much more accessible as Soviet laws required all X-Rays to be destroyed shortly after use. Bootleggers and pirates bribed and begged medical practitioners for the prints, resulting in the U.S.S.R’s underground music press, known as ‘bone music’.


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