Our exhibition at GARAGE is installed. It looks astonishing - it has been a real pleasure to work with the people at the museum and there has been a huge amount of media coverage in Russia press and TV.

Here are a selection of images from the exhibition, opening event and X-Ray Cabaret we held in the museum when we cut new x-ray records live from performances by Russian musicians.

The exhibition runs until October when it will transfer to St Petersburg and then move to Tel Aviv in the new year. 


We are very pleased to have been invited to bring the X-Ray Audio project to Russia.

From August 14th to October 5th 2017 we will be exhibiting at GARAGE Museum of Contemporary Art in Gorky Park. In addition to the exhibition there will a program of live events including an X- Ray Cabaret a round table discussion on Forbidden Culture and a short film program.

Read More HERE

Проект X-RAY AUDIO в Музее современного искусства «Гараж»

Мы очень рады, что наш проект X-Ray Audio пригласили в Россию.

 С 14 августа по 5 октября 2017 в Музее «Гараж» в Парке Горького пройдёт выставка «Музыка на костях». В рамках выставки также состоится серия мероприятий: X-Ray Cabaret, круглый стол «Запрещённая культура» и кинофестиваль.

Надеемся, что вы сможете к нам присоединиться.

Русская версия ниже


Since the beginning of the project, we have benefitted from a lot of media interest. That has been really helpful - it gave us the motivation to keep going in what is fundamentally a labour of love plus it has opened many opportunites for the project exhibition and live events.


Most recently, there have been major features in international media including Garage, Frieze and National Geographic magazines - with more to come.  Thanks to all who have shown an interest - we appreciate that.



X-RAY AUDIO in Berlin

We wil be live at the HOUSE OF CULTURE in Berlin as part for the FREE! Music festival on Sunday April 9th:

"Stephen Coates tells the incredible story of soviet bootleggers who cut forbidden music onto used X-ray plates during the Cold War. Sound artist Aleks Kolkowski cuts a fresh X-ray bootleg live."

We are very pleased to be working with the Berlin electronic musical artist GUIDO MOBIUS  to make a recording onto X-Ray



There is a major feature on X-Ray Audio in the new edition of Garage magazine published by the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art.

It contains exclusive images and interview extracts. If you download the magazine's special app , there are two amazing three dimensional animations of x-ray discs.

ROENTGENIZDAT - The X-Ray Audio Documentary

Our full length documentary 'Roentgenizdat - Bone Music' premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in London on September 25th. It was awarded the Best Documentary Feature at the Russian Film Festival in London in October and was part of a major exposition at Trieste Film festival in January.

It is currently showing at International film festivals. 

"Leningrad 1946, the Cold War: All culture is subject to the brutal control of a totalitarian state censor. But music-mad bootleggers devise an incredible and risky way to listen to and share the music they love, copying forbidden songs onto used X-ray film and creating their own records."

It features new interviews with Marc Almond, Artyemi Troistky and Stephen Coates, Soviet era x-ray Bootleggers and extraordinary archive footage telling the story of one of the strangest eras in vinyl, music, forbidden culture and cold war history.

With the trailer here:


The X-Ray Audio documentary ‘Roentgenizdat’ was awarded the best documentary award at the Russian film festival in London. It premiered at the Raindance festival in September and has been getting rave reviews.

It will next be shown at the  28th Trieste Film Festival on 21st January 2017 when it will be accompanied by an X-Ray Audio exhibition of original bone disc, films, sounds, ephemera and images

The screening  will be followed by a live event with Q+A and live x-ray cutting from a very special musical performance by a guest star performer.

For more details go HERE

Other dates to follow.


Stephen Coates wil be discussing the cold war Soviet X-Ray bootleggers at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on November 12th as part of an event of forbidden culture.

The event is "VHS in Off-World / Film Dubbing as Subversion" with Irina Margareta Nistor

"Between 1984-89 in the apartments of tower blocks in Bucharest, capital of a sequestered communist Romania, thousands of pirated videocassettes of forbidden films from the West were screened illegally. The disorientating foreignness of these technicoloured, ideology-busting films were tempered by the voice of Irina Margareta Nistor, who frequently skirted exposure and arrest by Nicolae Ceausescu's dreaded Securitate whilst defiantly translating and dubbing the films into Romanian. In this unique event, Nistor joins curator/serial digressionist David Ellis for audio-visual essays and a discussion of forbidden culture, incorporating the screening of original VHS material, illustrative slides, plus 'live' dubbing and a Q&A in a homage to this lesser-known heroine of cinema."


Alice Nicolov has written a very considered piece on X-Ray Audio for DAZED 

“People tend to tell this story as one of Russian hipsters breaking the system by pirating Western music. Well, that's just not accurate at all.”

Stephen Coates is explaining the remarkable story behind his X-Ray Audio Project. Coates, a musician who’s been performing in Russia for ten years with his band The Real Tuesday Weld, four years ago stumbled across what he thought was a vinyl-type disc cut onto an x-ray in a St. Petersburg flea market.,"


We wil be at the KRAKE FESTIVAL in Berlin on July 27th.

Stephen Coates will be telling the history of the Soviet x-ray records and Aleks Kolkowski will make a live demonstration of x-ray cutting with a performance by very special guest ALEXANDER HACKE.  

More details on Facebook  HERE

For German speakers there have been two recent pieces on the x-ray audio project in the German Media:



We are hoping to be back in Berlin on November 17th for a major exhibition at the Musik / Tanz Theater.


The X-Ray Audio documentary will be screening at the Poolinale Music Film Festival in Vienna on April 16th. The screening will be followed b a question and answers interview with Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield.

Details are HERE


The X-Ray Audio exhibition of original bone bootlegs and associated film and images will be at the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown from April 16th - May 28th as part of the 'WHY IS IT ALWAYS DECEMBER?" show.

Go HERE for more details


We are very pleased that X-RAY AUDIO: THE DOCUMENTARY  is HERE

"Cold War Leningrad: In a culture where the recording industry was ruthlessly controlled by the state, music lovers discovered an extraordinary alternative means of reproduction: they repurposed used x-ray film as the base for records of forbidden songs.

Giving blood every week to earn enough money to buy a recording lathe, one bootlegger Rudy Fuchs cuts banned music onto such discarded x-rays to be sold on street corners by shady dealers.

It was ultimate act of punk resistance, a two-fingered salute to the repressive regime that gave a generation of young Soviets access to forbidden Western and Russian music, an act for which Rudy and his fellow bootleggers would pay a heavy price."

The culmination of four years of research and countless trips to Russia to track down Rudy, buyer and amateur dealer Nick Markovitch and Beatles’ fanatic Kolya Vasin, this short documentary gives an evocative and intimate insight into one of the most extraordinary, untold stories of twentieth century music. 

Produced by The Vinyl Factory and Antique Beat. Watch it HERE



We are very pleased that our next live event will be London's biggest and best independent record store Rough Trade East in Brick Lane on March 9th. And we are even more pleased that we will be joined by legendary torch singer Marc Almond.

In the first half Stephen Coates will tell the story of the Soviet bone bootleggers and their x-ray recordings and in the second, Marc will perform two songs which will be recorded direct to x-ray by Aleks Kolowski.

In addition to his extraordinary pop career, Marc has a longheld love of Russian culture and song. In the 1990s he toured Siberia and recently presented a wonderful BBC Radio documentary about tragic Soviet singer Vadim Kozin.  You can listen to that HERE

Kozin's records were copied to bone bootleg after his catastrophic fall from grace and imprisonment.

The event is free on a first come first served basis but you can guarantee entry by reserving a copy of our book 'X-Ray Audio: The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone'.

Details HERE


For our US friends, Stephen Coates will be on NPR's All Things Considered program later today (Saturday 9 January).

He will be talking about the Soviet X-Ray bootleg culture with presenter Michel Martin playing music form Bones records and an excerpt from the upcoming X-Ray audio documentary with an interview with original bone bootlegger Rudy Fuchs.

What is 'Music on the Bones'?

Great film piece by Russian correspondent Alex Kan on the project on BBC NEWS today. It was shot at The Horse Hospital in London inside out exhibition and on the day of an an amazing live event when we recorded thereminist Lydia Kavina  to x-ray.



BBC Russia made a short video piece on our live event at The Horse Hospital with thereminist Lydia Kavina last week.

 It translates:

"In London, they are listening to  the sound of "music on the bones”

Today we can easily download thousands of songs to our phones and iPods without thinking about the process of recording and playback. But a little more than half a century ago in the Soviet Union, fans of forbidden music - jazz, rock and roll and emigre  songs - had to resort to almost unbelievable means - they recorded music onto the surface of X-rays.

Thus was born the unique socio-cultural phenomenon, known as "Music on the bones", "rock on the edges" or "roentgenizdat."

In Russia, this story is almost completely forgotten. In the West, nobody knew about it. Until now when a few British enthusiasts, accidentally came across "music on the bones,” have engaged in a deep and serious study of this phenomenon.

They not only hold exhibitions, publish books and are preparing to release a documentary, but they have revived the process of recording and playback of music on X-ray film.

Alexander Kan, columnist of the Russian Service for Cultural Affairs visited the London exhibition of the project"

You can watch it HERE