Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roche Laboratories (1972)

I'm pretty much a sucker for any sort of oddball spoken word or instructional recordings, especially from thrift stores and flea markets where you never know what you'll find. This is one of my favorites from those digs and I'm guessing you'll immediately see why. Visually this just looks dope. Great design work with the soundwaves emanating from the spindle hole. I also like how this is immediately recognizable as a '70s joint with the doc's glasses and pallor. That dude has some hairy wrists. On a second look, there is something a bit strange going on with the spindle hole. That is, if you think about it, it's like this subject is actually missing his heart and the doctor is listening to a blank white spot with his stethoscope. I wonder what's he's hearing in the nothingness.

Listening-wise this is a curious recording. There's a guy talking some standard medical jargon, but what's interesting is the heartbeat sounds. It's set up so that whoever is using this to study or learn or whatever gets to hear the beats at a regular speed and then at a slowed down speed, which the narrator says should allow listeners to better understand what it is they're hearing. The accompanying booklet has all sorts of info on prescribing Valium, adverse reactions, relieving psychic tension and overdosage.

For those in the market: "Single copies of INTERPRETING HEART SOUNDS kits may be purchased for $2.30 each." Unless you happen to come across five parts of Part A at your local thrift store, which can be purchased at a price of 50 cents each.


  1. The sound waves are fantastic, and there's something weird about punching the spindle through the guy's heart to put it on the turntable. And, there's also the visual effect that the doc is listening to some headphones attached to the spindle on your turntable. He's listening to the turntable as if it were a heart, and that turntable is producing the heart sounds that we, the home audience, are also listening to.

    Thinking about this is blowing my mind.

  2. This is indeed a very cool post.

  3. I have come across about 20 of these recently. Glad to know I'm not the only one who is intrigued by this. :)