Wednesday, January 16, 2013


What won't they think of next? A Swedish band, the Shout Out Louds, have released their new single, "Blue Ice" in a new format: a playable record made out of ice.

I'd love to follow up by saying it's available in the refirgerated section of your local record store, but you'd see through that particular joke. First of all, most record stores don't have a refrigerated section. Second, the ice version of the single is an extremely limited edition. Only ten were made. And technically, when you get it (assuming you are one of the chosen few), what you get is a mold, a bottle of water and instructions. You pour the water in the mold, freeze it, remove the record from the mold and then play it. Cool! For more details, here's the article I saw.

Yeah, it's obviously a gimmick. Keeping the record as part of your collection is not an easy thing to do. I would assume it's not great for your record player, and I doubt the ice would survive many playings. Heck, even the first play seems to be pretty porr quality. But it is a clever idea and good for some attention.

In a similar vein, I recall reading about a record that came with a cardboard turntable that -- if memory serves -- had to be folded together. And I also recall reading about a digital record that has some kind of software built in to change it in small random ways so that it never sounds the same twice. Don't ask me for details. I don't recall.

A bunch of questions come to mind: Do you have to use the water provided in the bottle, or does plain old tap work? Will the music sound bubblietr if you use seltzer? Can the mold be used more than once? I would hope so. I'd hate to think that you can use it once and that's it. But I could see the possibility that the plastic mold is damaged beyond reuse when the frozen disk is removed.

What I will admit is that it shows how far gimmick releases have come. I remember some gimmick releases from my youth, but they were all simpler. There were some singles that came in odd shapes. I particularly remember a specially released single by the turtles that was shaped like a turtle. Split Enz' first album came with some kind of laser etching so that if you held the record at the right angle you could see the album's logo on it. I also had a 5-inch single (Jona Lewie's "I'll Get By in Pittsburgh") and a 6-inch single (Squeeze' "Another Nail in My Heart").  And, of course, there were picture discs, and albums released on clear or colored vinyl.

My favorite gimmick, though, was a flexi-disk produced by Mad Magazine. It was for a song called "It's a Super Spectacular Day." The gimmick was that it had eight different endings, and you didn't know which one would play any given time you listened to it.

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