Satanic messages in the computer era

Posted by berto on January 22, 2008

Everyone has heard of stories about hidden messages in songs, many of which could only be heard by playing the record backwards. That was in the vinyl era. CD owners had to rip their songs into wav files and process them with a suitable software tool. For example the manpage of SoX describes its reverse efect as “Reverse the sound sample completely. Included for finding Satanic subliminals”.

Some years ago I was listening to a CD by the Scottish band Urusei Yatsura when I heard the disctintive sound of a ZX Spectrum audio tape in one of its tracks. That sound had already been used several times by some artists (such as Aphex Twin), but this time it was very sharp and sounded like a complete program.

So I loaded it into the emulator and I found a funny satanic message written by the band:

Satanic message by Urusei Yatsura

The source code (it was written in BASIC) had some comments, including this one:

What is sadder?
a. Finding this
b. Writing it

For those interested, this message can be found at the beginning of the song “Thank you” from their last album “Everybody loves Urusei Yatsura”.

You can also load this program using a ZX Spectrum emulator. Get the file in TZX format here.

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  1. Federico Tue, 22 Jan 2008 01:34:05 CET

    “Sadder” ?

    This is the coolest satanic message I’ve heard of :-)

  2. Andy Fitzsimon Tue, 22 Jan 2008 02:12:09 CET

    this has made my day.. is that sad ?

  3. Karl Lattimer Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:53:24 CET

    Yep, made my day too, how geeky are we!

  4. dave Tue, 22 Jan 2008 17:33:10 CET

    There’s a fairly thorough list of such things here:

    http://www.kempa.com/blog/archives/000053.html

  5. berto Tue, 22 Jan 2008 23:00:22 CET

    Thanks for the link, Dave! I never heard of some of those

  6. Jack Wed, 23 Jan 2008 05:32:47 CET

    lol that’s the coolest (or sad?) easter egg ever!
    i wonder if you could decode that if the song was in mp3-format. might be corrupted through the compression.

  7. [...] Botschaft [...]

  8. berto Wed, 23 Jan 2008 10:52:13 CET

    Jack, if I remember correctly Spectrum tapes are loadable even in mp3 format.

    A Spectrum tape has a very clear sound and it’s probably very easy to compress without introducing artifacts. I’m not an expert but I think that those audio tapes were designed to resist much more distortion than the mp3 compression introduces (which is barely noticeable for the human ear).

  9. Musik und Computerspiele | w00titude Wed, 23 Jan 2008 10:59:04 CET

    [...] Via The world won’t listen. [...]

  10. Faz Sun, 03 Feb 2008 07:34:44 CET

    LOL! What a find!!
    Thanks Berto and Dave for the link!

    Finding this so amusing and intriguing may well have been the sadest and geekiest experience of my life, alas I have to confess to small talk with a fax machine. Sorry I didn’t manage to get her model let alone serial number as evidence! Look, it was a long ago!!! I know, I think I still need help… :P

  11. [...] Eine satanische Botschaft für Fortgeschrittene hat Alberto Garcia entdeckt: Die Band Urusei Yatsura hat an den Anfang eines ihrer Stücke ein akustisch kodiertes Computerprogramm platziert, dass eine solche Botschaft auf den Bildschirm schreibt, wenn man es ausführt. :) [...]

  12. Bushido Fri, 07 Mar 2008 03:09:01 CET

    Lol – wtf! Some people have too much time ;)

  13. [...] » Satanic messages in the computer era [...]

  14. Thomas Wed, 30 Jul 2008 18:21:06 CET

    Lol, ok. That’s weird!

  15. Pete Porpoise Thu, 12 Mar 2009 19:41:20 CET

    Haha. Wow thanks for find that out about the Yatsura song! Ive always felt like satan was messing with my mind, i know why now!

    Cheers!

  16. KYTE Sat, 04 Jun 2011 18:41:02 CET

    Things like this are why Yatsura (and Projekt A-ko, the new name they’re under) are my favourite band. Or should I say greatest band? Ever.

  17. berto Sat, 04 Jun 2011 22:07:32 CET

    Hey, I didn’t know they had a new band, thanks!