You’ve probably heard about back-masking, also called backward masking or reverse masking. It was all the rage in the late 70s and early 80s for tight-assed evangelicals to accuse heavy metal bands of putting satanic messages in their songs. To hear these supposed messages, you had to play the songs backward, something not particularly easy for folks at home to do at the time (we’re talking tape decks and 8-tracks here), and sometimes you had to change the speed of the song to hear the “message”. Most of the time this was utter bunk, and the only times it was true was when a band was making fun of the whole concept (example, Oingo Boingo’s Cry of the Vatos, which actually had Danny Elfman praising Jesus and encouraging you to go to church).
Enter Aphex Twin, the techno/breakbeat artist who likes to put his face everywhere…seriously, it’s kind of his thing. The Windowlicker album cover, for example, has a swimsuit model with his face superimposed over hers. It’s disturbing, but not as disturbing as the song “Equation” on Windowlicker. You see, his face is embedded in the music itself.
Using a process called spectography, the Aphex Twin face was added to the digital music information, creating a face if you play the song with something capable of showing the spectrogram. It’s all kind of technical, but the point is, when you listen to the song, the picture is basically being pumped directly into your brain. Granted you won’t see it in any way, but just think about it…images being inserted in your head. And then take a look at what picture is being stuck in there: