8.31.2006

D.I.Y. music... not just punk!

I know you'll get a kick out of this.

In the years after World War II, Stalin attempted to extirpate every aspect of American culture from Soviet life. Jazz, which had been played publicly in the USSR as recently as the war years, was now officially regarded as decadent capitalist filth; to even speak of jazz during this period was a criminal act...

But the stilyagi managed not only to hear jazz, but to assemble collections of recordings too. How? They had turntables, but they certainly couldn't buy jazz records in record stores (there weren't any). They couldn't tape what they heard on the radio. Even assuming they could get access to a reel-to-reel recorder, where were they going to get enough blank tape? The solution was a piece of genius. A jazz-loving medical student realized that he could inscribe sound grooves on the surface of a medium that was actually plentiful in the Soviet Union: old X-ray plates.


The tenacity of these Do-It-Yourselfers humbles the hell outta me. Check it out:

I can imagine some hardcore kid being really enthusiastic about getting a 7" that looks like that.

1 Comments:

At 10:19 PM, Blogger eric said...

A note of clarification: yes, i know that every element and genre of music has begun its life in terms of 'diy.' I don't mean to be chauvinistic in this sense... in fact the title of this post is mostly for my own benefit. Personally i've been inundated in a 'hardcore' culture, where rare/independently published vinyl has been fetishized as 'collectible', and so the post should be viewed from that context. Indeed, there is nothing inherently 'punk' about punk rock music... and it is this fact that has given me hope and expanded my horizons of what music can truly be.
thank you.

 

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