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PostSubject: Backmasking   Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:04 pm

CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR BACKMASKING http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking.htm really cool

Backmasking has been used as a recording technique since the 1960s. In the era of magnetic tape sound recording, backmasking required that the source reel-to-reel tape actually be played backwards, which was achieved by first being wound onto the original takeup reel, then reversing the reels so as to use that reel as the source (this would reverse the stereo channels as well). Digital audio recording has greatly simplified the process.

Backmasked words are unintelligible noise when played forward, but when played backwards are clear speech. Listening to backmasked audio with most turntables requires disengaging the drive and rotating the album by hand in reverse (though some can play records backwards). With magnetic tape, the tape must be reversed and spliced back in to the cassette. Compact discs were difficult to reverse when first introduced, but digital audio editors, which were first introduced in the late 1980s and became popular during the next decade,allow easy reversal of audio from digital sources.


Satanic backmasking
Although the Satanic backmasking controversy involved mainly classic rock songs whose authors denied any intent to promote Satanism, backmasking has been used by heavy metal bands to deliberately insert messages in their lyrics or imagery. Bands have utilized Satanic imagery for commercial reasons. One of the most famous alleged uses of backmasking is found in the song by Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven. If played backwards during the section in the lyrics that goes, "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the may queen. Yes there are two paths you can go by; but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on," some listeners claim to hear, "Here's to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He'll give those with him 666. There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan." For example, thrash metal band Slayer included at the start of the band's 1985 album Hell Awaits a deep backmasked voice chanting "Join Us" over and over at increasing volumes for 1 minute and 2 seconds until a deep voice says "Welcome Back."(listen (info)). However, Slayer vocalist Tom Araya states that the band's use of Satanic imagery was "solely for effect". Cradle of Filth, another band that has employed Satanic imagery, released a song entitled "Dinner at Deviant's Palace", consisting almost entirely of ambient sounds and a reversed reading of the Lord's Prayer (a backwards reading of the Lord's Prayer is reportedly a major part of the Black Mass).


Aesthetic use
Backmasking is often used for aesthetics, i.e., to enhance the meaning or sound of a track. During the Judas Priest subliminal message trial, lead singer Rob Halford admitted to recording the words "In the dead of the night, love bites" backwards into the track "Love Bites", from the 1984 album Defenders of the Faith. Asked why he recorded the message, Halford stated that "When you're composing songs, you're always looking for new ideas, new sounds."

A well-known example of a hidden message is recorded backwards into Pink Floyd's 1979 song "Empty Spaces": "…congratulations. You've just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the funny farm, Chalfont." (voice in background) "Roger! Carolyn is on the phone!"This line may refer to former lead singer Syd Barrett, who is thought to have suffered a nervous breakdown years earlier.

One backmasking technique is to reverse an earlier part of a song. Missy Elliott used this technique in one of her songs, "Work It", as did Jay Chou ("You Can Hear", from Ye Hui Mei), At the Drive-In ("300 MHz", from Vaya), and Lacuna Coil ("Self Deception", from Comalies). A related technique is to reverse an entire instrumental track. John Lennon originally wanted to do so with "Rain", but objections by producer George Martin and bandmate Paul McCartney cut the backward section to 30 seconds. The Stone Roses have made heavy use of this technique in songs including "Don't Stop", "Guernica", and "Simone", which are all backwards versions of other Stone Roses tracks, sometimes overdubbed with new vocals.

Artists often use backmasking of sounds or instrumental audio to produce interesting sound effects. One such sound effect is the reverse echo. When done on tape, such use of backmasking is known as reverse tape effects. One example is Matthew Sweet's 1999 album In Reverse, which includes reversed guitar parts which were played directly onto a tape running in reverse. For live concerts, the guitar parts were played live on stage using a backward emulator.

The Canadian band Klaatu used the vocal track, reversed, from their song "Anus From Uranus" as the vocal track to the song "Silly Boys", and even included a lyrics sheet that attempted to translate the backwards vocal sounds into actual words, however the result was mostly nonsensical non sequiturs or imaginative license.

CRITICAL OR EXPLICIT MESSAGES

Backmasking has also been used to record statements perhaps too critical or explicit to be used forwards. Frank Zappa used backmasking to avoid censorship of the track "Hot Poop", from We're only in it for the Money (1968). The released version contains at the end of its side "A" the backmasked message "Better look around before you say you don't care. / Shut your f...ing mouth 'bout the length of my hair. / How would you survive / If you were alive / shitty little person?" . This profanity-laced verse, originally from the song "Mother People", was censored by Verve Records, so Zappa edited the verse out, reversed it, and inserted it elsewhere in the album as "Hot Poop" (though even in the backward message the word "fucking" is censored). Another example is found in Roger Waters' 1991 album Amused to Death, on which Waters recorded a backward message, possibly critical of film director Stanley Kubrick, who had refused to let Waters sample a breathing sound from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The message appears in the song "Perfect Sense Part 1", in which Waters' backmasked voice says, "Julia, however, in light and visions of the issues of Stanley, we have changed our minds. We have decided to include a backward message, Stanley, for you and all the other book burners."


Censorship
A further use of backmasking is to censor words and phrases deemed inappropriate on radio edits and "clean" album releases. For example, The Fugees' clean version of the album The Score contains various backmasked profanities; thus, when playing the album backwards, the censored words are clearly audible among the backward gibberish. When used with the word "shit", this type of backmasking results in a sound similar to "ish". As a result, "ish" became a euphemism for "shit".

CHECK OUT THIS LINK FOR BACKMASKING http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking.htm
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