Music lovers can now be immortalised when they die by having their ashes baked into vinyl records to leave behind for loved ones.
A UK company called And Vinyly is offering people the chance to press their ashes in a vinyl recording of their own voice, their favourite tunes or their last will and testament. Minimalist audiophiles might want to go for the simple option of having no tunes or voiceover, and simply pressing the ashes into the vinyl to result in pops and crackles.
The company was founded by Jason Leach, who co-founded the techno group and record label Subhead in the 1990s and has since founded a number of other labels, including House of Fix, Daftwerk and Death to Vinyl.
Leach explained to Wired.co.uk that there were a number of factors that made him launch the service, including thinking that he was “getting a bit old” and “might not be invincible”. His mother also started working at a funeral directors, which brought the whole funeral process closer to home. A third prompt was when he saw a TV programme that showed someone in America putting their ashes into fireworks, which made him think about how he might want to be remembered. And, he says, “It’s a bit more interesting than being in a pot on a shelf.”
How does it work?
The process of setting human ashes into vinyl involves a very understanding pressing plant. Basically the ashes must be sprinkled onto the raw piece of vinyl (known as a “biscuit” or “puck”) before it is pressed by the plates. This means that when the plates exert their pressure on the vinyl in order to create the grooves, the ashes are pressed into the record.
The site has a very irreverent style and operates under the strapline “live on from beyond the groove”. One of Leach’s family stories, he tells Wired.co.uk, suggests why he has a practical attitude to people’s ashes.
He explains how he went out on a boat with his family members to sprinkle the ashes of his grandfather into the sea. His uncle “released them on the wrong side of the boat and so the ashes went all over us.” Apparently the same thing happened to his father, too!
And Vinyly also offers personalised RIV (Rest In Vinyl) artwork — the simple version just carries your name and your life span, or you can have your portrait painted by artist James Hague, using your ashes mixed into the paint.
The basic package costs £2,000 and comprises of the standard artwork along with up to 30 ash-flecked discs with whatever sounds you choose, lasting a maximum of 24 minutes.
Extras include “Bespook Music”, where artists from The House of Fix and www.daftwerk.com write a song especially for you and global distribution of your record in vinyl stores.
The main challenge is choosing the music. Leach says: “It’s difficult to think of what to put on your record because you want it to be the best album you can imagine.”
What would he have on his own record? “I would definitely have a recording of my own voice as well as some ‘sound photos’ of places that are important to me and then I would have some of my own music on there. It’s something I’m working on.”