Satanic messages in the computer era

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.

17 thoughts on “Satanic messages in the computer era”

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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… 😛

  4. 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.

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