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Music on Ribs


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It’s difficult to say whether Philo was first to discover that the soft, pliable nature of X-rays made them – if not ideal, then at least suitable media for pressing records. But he is credited with popularizing the phenomenon around the USSR’s second most populous city.

With the Soviet government cracking down on Western influences in the post-war beginnings of geopolitical tensions with the U.S. and its allies, possession of English and American music became a criminal offense. And songs pressed onto discarded X-rays became a much sought after black market item. The recordings were alternately known as “bones,” “bones music,” “jazz on bones,” “music on ribs” or, simply, “ribs,” after the most common motif.


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