Ice Record Single Needs Six Hours In The Deep Freeze Before You Can Listen


This delightful marketing ploy requires the listener to fabricate their own record out of ice. The band Shout Out Louds wanted to make a splash with their newest single. So they figured out how to make a playable record out of ice. The main problem with this is the grooves start to degrade immediately when the ice begins to melt. So they shipped a mold of the record and a bottle of water to a select few listeners (just ten in all). Hear the result in the video after the break.

Now if you want to make something like this for yourself we can help you out just a bit. The mold is made of silicone and it wasn’t so long ago that we saw a guide for those new to mold making. The raw material isn’t that hard to find either. The project above tried several different approaches and found the best results can be attained with plain old distilled water. No, the one hard part is figuring out how to make your own master. If you’ve got a way of doing this in the home lab, please tells us about it!

[via Reddit and Boing Boing]

36 thoughts on “Ice Record Single Needs Six Hours In The Deep Freeze Before You Can Listen

  1. Couldn’t they just play the record IN the freezer to keep it from melting? or is it the action of the needle in the grooves that’s degrading the sound?

    now, what about casting in something other than ice? epoxy maybe?

    1. Very cool. Like other readers, I suspect they could put the record in a freezer to keep it from melting, but the impermanence of the record was exactly the point. Then my mind turned to the idea that the moment they remove the record from its mold, moisture in the surrounding air will condense (and freeze) on the disc, introducing hiss and pops. It’s not a perfect copy that is played until liquid, even if it starts that way. The time between extracting the ice and playing it will change the composition slightly.

  2. Could you not simply take the negative (the silicone mold itself) and put *that* on your record player? Sure, the output would be out of phase, but both channels would be out of phase, and so you’d never be able to tell.

    Am I missing something?

    1. They COULD take a high definition 3d scan of it and make an equally high definition 3d print (possibly, I’m not sure if 3d printing records is possible yet), but it seems to defeat the purpose.

      And no, the needle needs a groove to travel along, and the ridges in the mold wouldn’t be able to hold it in. Kinda like trying to balance a pin by its point on a knife-edge…

      1. Cut out the middle man and just play the 3D scan in an emulator (:
        I read somewhere that has already been done in an American archive.
        I should imagine it may well be possible to print a wax version of this rubber mold and so create a metal version. Which could then be stamped onto plastic.
        Still the fact that ice could play at all is a feat in its self. I should imagine that the purity of the ice is the main cause of audio degradation along with the small chips and melting that will occur as the ice is lifted from the mold. a slow freeze and agitating/filtering and boiling extra may make for a smoother air free disc.
        small idea, 3D printing ice could be an interesting route to take (:

  3. Why not make the record out of something that won’t melt the mould, wax, melted plastic, wood’s metal, whatever the mould will take.

    @ Joseph – It’s winter, just take the record player outside and listen all day. (But I think that even if the record stays below 0 the needle will erode the record through simple mechanical action.)

  4. I may be wrong here, but the concern that the water may break the stylus or the cartridge is moot seeing how lots of audiophiles are playing their records wet (in this case: to prevent popping and hissing), which doesn’t seem to degrade any of these components any more than regular usage.

  5. So the lesson here is, if you have a crappy sounding band, with a crappy sounding new song, release it on some overly complicated media that is inherently bad sounding and then no one will know if it’s the media or just your crappy band that sucks.

  6. The mold is more complicated than it needs to be. Why have a vinyl version of a record stamping die? Silicone by itself would make a better mold.

    It’s possible to duplicate records by using a very thin RTV silicone, a thin but stiff plastic scraper, and urethane resin. Do note this is NOT the silicone in a tube that smells like alcohol or vinegar. It’s a two part type called platinum cure and costs around $10 a pound.

    First step is to seal the label to prevet the silicone from sticking to it. Clear lacquer works the best. Future acrylic floor polish also works. Do NOT use enamel paint. It inhibits the silicone from curing.

    Obtain something smooth and flat, larger than the record. The record should be secured to the surface and sealed around the edge and the center hole to keep the silicone from running underneath. How? I dunno. I’ve never duplicated a record but have done many other items. I use hot glue or double sided acrylic foam tape used for sticking moldings onto cars.

    Get some corrugated cardboard with a glossy surface. RTV silicone will not stick to it. Cut a strip about 1.5″ wide with the corrugations running across the width. Run the shiny side over something like a round table edge so can be curled into a ring.

    Hot glue the cardboard ring around the record, evenly spaced from the edge at least 0.5″ away. This makes a dam to hold the silicone.

    Level the record, shim things up if you have to. The slightest bit off will make casting the copies difficult.

    Mix up some silicone and pour over part of the record. Use the plastic scraper like a squeegee to force the silicone into the grooves. Go around parallel to the grooves. When you have the grooves full and can see no bubbles in them, pour on more silicone until there’s 0.5″ thickness over the record. Thinner will work but it will be harder to get a good casting from a floppier mold.

    Let the silicone cure for 24 hours at 72F or higher. Remove the cardboard ring but leave the mold on the record.

    Using a really sharp knife, trim off the upward turned meniscus edge that was against the cardboard. You want the top surface of the mold FLAT. This is why the cardboard ring was that far from the edge of the record, to give room to taper the edge so when flipped over it won’t push up the edges of the mold.

    Now you can peel the mold off the record. Lay it on a perfectly flat and level surface and it’s ready to fill with resin.

    Smooth-On Smooth-Cast or Onyx have been used with this method to duplicate old bakelite Edison disk and 78 RPM records. The Onyx resin is black, nearly thin as water and sets up in minutes, hard enough that it does not need post-curing.

    Best results will be obtained by casting the mold, then the resin in the mold, in a pressure tank under 40 to 60 PSI. Finding a tank with a removable lid large enough to hold a 12″ record isn’t easy. The tank has to be quite a bit larger diameter than the record to accommodate the platform the mold is made on and for supporting the mold when casting the records.

    Pressure tanks for domestic drinking water systems, used with wells, are typically rated to 110 PSI and can be cut in half (or 1/3 or however tall is needed) and modified to clamp on a lid. I use one I had made, only up to 40 PSI for a significant safety margin. Beyond that I’ll give no further advice or info on a DIY pressure tank.

    Without casting under pressure there’s always the chance of a bubble at or just below the surface of the mold or casting ruining it.

    Instead of pressure, casting can be done under vacuum, but that can get silicone or resin into places you don’t want, and mold forms and molds need to be taller so the silicone and resin don’t spill as they foam while the air is coming out.

    Vacuum casting fast setting resins like Smooth-On Onyx or 300Q (white resin with less than 2 minute curing time!) will only get you hard plastic foam and money wasted.

    There are plenty of videos on YouTube on casting silicone and resins. The methods I use I’ve developed by working with this stuff since 2004.

  7. Looks like the band needs this kind of marketing expertise..

    The music is awful.

    I suppose that if they had set the record to be EXACTLY level, the needle wouldn’t move so much vertically, and then most of the playing distortion would have gone

  8. “As always Jim, if anyone of your IM Force is caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

    Destroy this recording in the usual manner…”

    (Theme from Mission: Impossible starts playing)

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