Even in death we are only limited by our imagination in how we want to go out. There are now ways to turn our corpse into a tree, or have our ashes shot into space, or pressing our ashes into diamonds--I believe Superman is involved in that last one. And now for the music lover, a company called And Vinyly will press your ashes into a playable vinyl record.
You like that punny company name? There’s more: the business lets the dear departed to “Live on from beyond the groove.” Hear that groan? That’s the deceased literally spinning in their grave...on a turntable.
The UK-based company has been around since 2009, when Jason Leach launched it “just for fun” at first. But a lot of people liked the idea and have kept him in business.
It will cost, however. The basic service costs around $4,000, which gets you 30 copies of the record, all of which contain the ashes. However, you cannot use copyright-protected music to fill up the 12 minutes per side, so no “Free Bird” or “We Are the Champions,” unfortunately. But you can put anything else: a voice recording, or the sounds of nature, or complete silence. For an additional fee, you can hire musicians through the company to record a track or tracks for you.
Other extras include cover art either supplied by the deceased or their family or painted by James Hague of the National Portrait Gallery in London and/or street artist Paul Insect; extra copies to be distributed worldwide through record shops (has anyone seen one? Let us know.); and a £10,000 “FUNeral,” where your record will be played at your funeral, surrounded by loved ones.
Joking aside, the service can provide comfort and a memory trigger for those left behind. The above video, “Hearing Madge” is a short doc about a son who took recordings of his mother and used And Vinyly to make a record out of them. It’s sweet.
“I’m sure a lot of people think that it’s creepy, a lot of people think it’s sacrilegious,” the man says. “But I know my mother wouldn’t have. She would’ve thought it was a hoot.”
Jason Leach, a musician and vinyl collector himself, talks of the immediacy of sound and what it means to many.
“Sound is vibrating you, the room, and it’s actually moving the air around you,” he says. “And that’s what’s so powerful about hearing someone’s voice on a record. They’re actually moving the air and for me that’s powerful.”
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.