Many people think that vinyl records are a work of art – if not the plastic itself then certainly the sleeve and when combined with the rich analogue sound quality, who could argue. Well how about the actual surface of the vinyl becoming the work of art.
Shinsuke Yamaji has found a way of engraving vinyl in such a way that a pattern or graphic is visible on the surface, without making the disc unplayable. I have no idea exactly how he does this – I can only assume that the groove is slightly angled to reflect light differently for each area of the pattern.
The description on the designboom website (where I discovered this vinyl oddity) is not clear at all about how the process works – there is the mention of a smartphone app which may be involved in reading the audio file and apparently there is no loss of sound quality on playback, however it is achieved. Unfortunately there is also no clarity to be found on the Autora Factory Plate website (owned by the designer), unless you can read Japanese. If you can it might be worth a look.
Can you create your own pattern? Does the audio file create the pattern or is it simply a random selection of shapes? Which ever it might be, it is certainly a new angle on an old format. For an audio format that was supposed to have died with the advent of the CD, the vinyl record is surprisingly resilient and refuses to die quietly.
Have a look for yourself:-