Bone Music

Stephen Coates


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Strange Attractor Press
15 February 2022
ISBN: 9781913689476
208 pages

From the publisher

“There were two types of culture… Official culture and underground culture. I was always for underground culture.” Rudy Fuchs, Bone cutter and collector 

During the Cold War era, the songs that Soviet citizens could listen to were ruthlessly controlled by the state. But a secret underground subculture of music lovers and bootleggers defied the censors, building recording machines and making their own records of forbidden jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and Russian music, cut onto used hospital x-ray film. 

Who were they? Why did they do it and how was it even possible? Based on years of interviews and oral testimonies, Bone Music continues the story of X-Ray Audio, presenting the stories of the original Bone bootleggers, their customers and persecutors, evoking their spirit of resistance to a repressive culture of prohibition and punishment. 

Bone Music details how the bootleggers worked, explains their technical processes, and situates their unique discs in a revised history of recorded media with a wealth of compelling new detail.