I am a huge record fan. I don't buy CD's, I rarely download music digitally, most of the time I just go to the record shop to buy used records. I am also a huge fan of electronic music, ask me to name twenty Kraftwerk songs and I would be able to!
So I was surprised when I came across a tiny independent band, called Elektrostal. From what I have heard, the name is Russian for 'Electric Steel', and it is also a name of some Russian town or city, but I digress. They only released one album back in '74. It was entitled 'Record Grooves'.
I looked at the record online, on some crappy independent record company website. It was a 7-Inch single, and for all you younger people out there, a 7-Inch single has only 1 song on each side of the album. After looking at the information, I saw that the record was just 1 song, but split into two parts. The title of the song was 'Electric Chair'. So, I have no idea where they got the title 'Record Grooves' from.
I did a bit more research, and I was shocked to find that this is actually an incredibly rare single! Only 25 copies were made. That was because of financial problems back in the '70s they could only produce that many, at least that's what I was told on the website. This was one of those records that I just had to get!
Purchasing the Record
I went to the record shop, which I mentioned earlier. It was a tiny corner shop, with a red door and sign, but inside, it was every record collector's dream. There were records everywhere, some in fantastic condition. If there was one place that record would be, it would be in this shop I thought to myself. I went and talked to the record shop owner, Mark. He's a real record boffin, he would most likely know about the record too.
I was wrong. He looked kind of puzzled when I asked him about it. He said he had never heard of it. I was kind of disappointed, but I looked around anyways. After looking around for a while, I found it! I couldn't believe it. Unsurprisingly, the sleeve was not in great condition. It had a thick layer of dust over it, and part of the card which the artwork was printed on was exposed.
That's when I noticed something a little bit odd. The artwork was different, the artwork shown online was a black cover, with lips in the middle But, instead of lips, it was an eye which was wide open, and a what appeared to be a tear dropping out of it. Though, it didn't bother me too much, many artists have different artwork for their albums. But there were only 25 made, could they even have different editions?
Another thing, which was odd, was that the record itself was in perfect condition, not a single speck of dust or scratch on it. I placed the record back in the sleeve and rushed back to the counter. I placed it on the desk and Mark looked at me strangely.
"Strange," he said, "I don't remember getting this record in here".
"How much?" I asked politely but with anticipation.
"Tell you what, have it for free. I don't see any price tag, and I don't remember getting it, so it's yours." He replied, still keeping the puzzled look on his face. I was surprised, but kind of happy at the same time, I didn't have much money on me at the time and I didn't want anyone else getting this record. I thanked Mark and made my way back home quickly.
What I heard on the Record
I made it home. I ran up to my bedroom and pulled the record out of its sleeve. I placed it carefully onto the turntable, switched on the record player, placed the needle on the first groove, and the record began to play.
The intro was great, it sounded a lot like a Kraftwerk song, but with slightly deeper synths. It was also very catchy, and the vocals were incredible!
That's when things got strange.
His vocals became more and more electronic to the point where you could barely understand a word he was saying, the music in the background went out of tune. It became almost unbearable to listen to, it was just strange electronic nursery rhymes with loud undefinable music in the background. Finally, and this is when things got really strange, he asked a girl in the same room with him to sing.
There was a pause. The music kept playing in the background for a minute, and then you could hear the microphone move. That was when when I could hear a girl crying, and sniffling. Once again, Junior yelled at the girl 'SING! SING!' She would just keep crying, but each time Junior would yell at her, she would cry and yell louder. Then she screamed at the top of her lungs 'SOMEONE HELP ME! PLEASE!' The music kept playing in the background as Junior chuckled to himself. I was starting to get worried, it didn't sound like she was acting, she was genuinely screaming for help.
I continued to listen nervously. While Junior chuckled with a disturbed joy, you could hear him pressing what at first I thought were keys and buttons on the synthesizer. But with one large click, there was suddenly a loud crackling and buzzing noise, and the girl began to scream louder and louder.
Then I realized, I grabbed the sleeve from my desk, flipped it over and looked at the back. The title of the song was Electric Chair. I dropped the sleeve in panic, as I realized that the buzzing sound was not a synthesizer at all, It was a literal electric chair! I grabbed the record from the turntable, placed it back in the sleeve, and put the sleeve in my money safe.
I did not sleep well that night, what I heard on the record was too much. The brutal cries of the girl, and the subtle laughter of Junior was haunting. As my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness of the room, I stared at the safe. However, I could not stay awake for much longer, and I eventually fell asleep. At about 4:30 in the morning, I was suddenly awoken. A loud, thick, and electrifying sound filled the room. I jumped, and looked directly towards where the source of the sound was coming from. It was coming from the record player. To my absolute shock, I saw the record.
It was playing the B-Side of the record.
Once again I could hear the electronic sounds buzzing, as the laughter of Karl Junior came out, and as hypnotic electronic music playing loudly in the background.
I jumped out of bed, ran towards the record, grabbed it and switched on the light. I was shocked to see markings on the record, which spelled out the words 'Look, Smell', and in smaller writing on the A-side of the record, the word 'Electrifying'. It looked as if someone had carved the letters into the record grooves with a burning hot nail.
I couldn't take it any longer, I threw the record and the sleeve out the window, and the next day I went out into my backyard, and destroyed it.
The old man living next door to our house came over that day, asking what all the noise was the previous night. I told him that I didn't know and that it was most likely nothing to worry about. I couldn't have possibly explain what really happened.
I was extremely quiet that day. Whilst listening to some old Blues records to try and calm me down, I would look out the window, and see the bits of broken vinyl scattered across the yard. I would try to ignore it, but I couldn't. I then ran downstairs, grabbed a shovel and went out back. I tried to grab the record but it was incredibly hot! I had to get a towel to pick up all the pieces. I dug a small hole and threw the bits of vinyl in the pit as well as the sleeve. I poured some old vodka over the album, took one last look and lit the bastard on fire.
Once the flames were gone later that evening, I filled in the hole, all that was left was ash and melted plastic.
I was glad to get that piece of shit out of my life.
Seven Years Later
I could still remember the horrors of that record, but I was not so bothered because nothing happened after I destroyed it, but then I noticed something strange, something which I had not noticed before. A smell, and a thick strong one, almost like the smell of burning chars or overcooked meat. That's when I remembered, and that's when I began to panic. The record had 'Look' and 'Smell' engraved onto the grooves. But, I had my doubts whether this had anything to do with the smell. I began to follow the sent, it was coming from my basement. I then tracked the smell to a large crack on the basement wall.
Strangely, this was the only crack on the wall, and I had not previously noticed it. I nervously approached it. Whatever was that smell, it came from behind the wall. I reached out my hand cautiously, and touched the wall. It was incredibly warm, where as the rest of the wall was freezing, considering it was the middle of winter.
Suddenly, part of the wall collapsed, and dirt and bits of rock rushed in onto the floor of my basement. I ran back so that I didn't get crushed by the debris of the wall. I was shocked, but also infuriated that my wall just collapsed. I grabbed the shovel and started shoving dirt into a large bucket.
My heart stopped, and my I could feel my stomach churning. I saw a seemingly electrocuted body of a girl, her face was black with burn marks, with smoke coming off of her hair, and her teeth were cracked and a dark brown colour. Her skin was a crispy texture, and bits of her dead and burnt skin were layered across the floor of my basement and in the dirt. I saw that blood was dripping from her eyes, and the thick smell of burnt flesh filled the entire room, to the point where I almost vomited. I collapsed onto the floor and crawled away in panic, silent, but terrified. I wanted to let out a yell or a cry, but I was petrified.
I sat for almost thirty minutes, in silence. I was breathing heavily, I wasn't blinking and I was shaking. I wasn't looking at the body for twenty minutes but I finally built up the courage to look at the burnt corpse. I turned, and in her hand, was a copy of Elektrostal's 'Record Grooves'.
No one should experience, what I had.