Qu’importe le flacon

Pourvu qu’on ai l’ivresse (sonore)
Voilà une façon originale de presser des pirates.

The history of pirated music extends far deeper than people just not wanting to pay money for something. The Soviet Union, circa the 1940s and ’50s, was a place with zero tolerance for "ideologically foreign" music, according to a 2011 piece in Der Spiegel (via FACT). American jazz, blues, and rock and roll were musics that could get their listener thrown out of school or, worse, sent to prison or a labor camp.

Nonetheless, demand persisted, particularly among Soviet hipsters known as stilyagi. The actual machine for putting music onto records, the "recording apparatus," was easy enough to build, but the record material itself, celluloid, was another matter. "An unexpected path that led to where no one would have guessed the solution: in the archives of the Leningrad hospitals," Der Spiegel recounts (translation by Google). "There outsourced thousands of old x-rays, for which nobody use. Images of broken hands and feet, ribs, skull caves and hip bones." Radiographic film isn’t quite the same as celluloid or its successors, and was prone to irregularities and bending/warping, the result being "wild antics" in playback.

"Rock on the bones" or "skeleton of my grandmother" became keywords for the pirated material, which might be purchased from a dealer in some dark corner of a Moscow subway station. The underground trend went on for some 15 years, only to be subsumed by the introduction of cassette tapes, a device that, relatively speaking, would seem to be invented with pirates in mind.

Image: Wiki

Lo vi en Motherboard RSS Feed