Monday, 24 May 2010

Easter Eggs Up Your Ass

Originally Written: 01/04/10

That time of year is here again where we celebrate the murder and resurrection of
Jesus Christ the savior. I don't care what your beliefs on the subject are - coming back to life is a pretty impressive party trick even 2000 years onward. And as any kid will tell you, what better way to honour this than to eat a bunch of colourful chocolate eggs hidden by a very cunning bunny-rabbit.

Now, there is one thing always pisses me off about this time of year. It's when you're sitting in a room and some uneducated fuck thinks he's so smart and funny, and proclaims "
what the hell does bunny rabbits and eggs have to do with the rise of Jesus?" And everyone else in the room nods and drools and agree's "Wow, I never thought about it like that, you are so clever and beyond us."

I swear to God, this happens every fucking year. And each time I have to hold back from casually walking over the schmuck, slapping his/her face like a bitch and then pissing all over his/her designer trainers. Where did you get this amazing thought? Did you think of it all by yourself? Well - let me ask you this - do they have the internet where you come from? Oh, they do? Well, why don't you take your useless fingers over there and go onto wikipedia, you stupid prick, before putting stupid ideas into these poor sheep brains?

It's symbolic. Rabbits are known for their excessive breeding habits (the little sluts) although I doubt they match us humans. Cos we fuck a lot. Eggs, on the other hand, are an obvious representation of birth itself, waiting to be hatched into the world. It's
LIFE people, symbols of the creation of LIFE. Which has a rather fitting connection to the death and resurrection of Jesus, wouldn't you say? Yay! All is not lost! You can go back to bed now.

Besides all that nonsense, I love any holiday - it's an excuse to celebrate. I will have an extra pint just because I did my washing this week, so personally, I enjoy any justification which is a little more globally accepted. And let's face it, ever since I moved out of home, the chances of me even receiving a single Easter egg is next to none. Unless I buy it myself, which I am just not willing to do.

It's about here that I realise I have no conclusion to what I was talking about - please forgive me as I take this in a completely different direction.

Much like the sadistic rabbit (I decided he was sadistic just now) hiding Easter eggs for kids; artists and media developers around the world enjoy a similar practice too. I'm talking from programmers to painters to film directors - they love to sneak tiny in-jokes into their products so that we as the average people have to search and search to get the humour. And by search and search, I mean go to
Google, type some words, click "Google Search", normally the first hit. Fittingly, these little gems are called Easter Eggs. You see? You see? I didn't completely go off topic now, did I? No.

If you know anything about me (and let me assure you, you don't) you'll know that I am only educated about 3 things. The first is vagina - let me prove this to you sometime. The other 2 are the internet and music. And for that reason, I will be focusing on my
Top 10 favourite hidden Eggs in albums and songs I feel you should know. Please enjoy. Or don't. Either way - I win because you are on my website.

PLEASE NOTE: This note wouldn't have been so easy if it wasn't for the badly designed but thoroughly contented website knows as Easter Eggs over here:
Also, no backward messaging was included, because that way of hiding stuff is so lame.

10. The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band (1967)

This specific technique is my least favourite execution of any hidden-track method, only because it has been done like a 1000 times since. However, it is only fair to include this example, as it is the first hidden track
ever. Yup, first at everything, you're oh-so-cool Mr. Beatles.

After the final song (The
EPIC A Day In The Life) we are treated to 15-kilohertz high-frequency tone, which generally can only be heard by dogs, but I can hear it because I am SOMETHING BEYOND EVERYTHING. This is immediately followed by a weird loop of laughter and gibberish. This works especially well on the Vinyl editions because the track loops perpetually within the inner groove of the LP, an effect lost on the cd-release.

Since the release, there has been massive amounts of debating over what the hidden track means. "What does it really mean?" they say. Some have reported that it is just
McCartney saying "It really couldn't be any other" which sounds pretty close. Then kids started to play the message backwards (which isn't that strange because by now every single second of The Beatles catalogue has been listened to backwards extensively just to find, well, anything). Backwards interpretations are often cited as "We'll fuck you like Superman" and lesser so as "Will Paul come back as Superman?" which fuels the Paul is Dead Theory even further.

Anyways, you try work this all out for yourself, the hidden track is here.

Since then, this "play a track after the last track" technique has been used by any lazy artist who wanted a hidden track. One of the most famous examples being
Endless, Nameless by Nirvana on their classic album Nevermind.

The Beatles themselves didn't stop there either, with their Her Majesty being hidden much the same way on Abbey Road. Even cooler was their track Can You Take Me Back which is unlisted on the White Album, playing just after Cry Baby Cry and just before Revolution Number 9. And of course, there are literally hundreds of other hidden things all around The Beatles catalogue, some of which may be on purpose, most of which can be just credited to crazy fans. I'll leave you to it then.

09. Blur - Think Tank (2003)

Unlike the previous example, this technique could be considered as a "real" hidden track because you can listen to the entire album and never find it. Ladies, gentleman, inbetweeners:
The Pregpap.

How this works is like this: instead of just hitting "play" on track 1, the listener can actually rewind the first track into negative numbers where a bunch of hidden audio is stored. Hell, this audio is so well hidden that it doesn't even work on some cd players. That's pretty fucking hidden if you ask me.

Some of the best examples include
Queens Of The StoneAge's Songs For The Deaf which is just the sounds of someone getting into their car. Muse's Hullabaloo Soundtrack contains a sample of Tom Waits' What's He Building? on Disc 2. Limp Bizkit's Significant Other has a few of these all over the album.

Personally, I have chosen
Blur's Think Tank album as my favourite example of this. My reasoning is terrible: I just love Blur and I love this album. Also, the track in question "Me, White Noise" is a full-on over-6-and-a-half minute electronic track with guest vocals from the cockney Phil Daniels (who also provided vocals on the band's track Parklife).

However, this method is still used extremely often in modern media, and so isn't anything too special. For a detailed list of all albums using this, check it out here.

08. The Bloodhound Gang - Hooray For Boobies (2000)

Ok, now that we have got the 2 most common examples out of the way, it's time to start rewarding the truly clever.

To some, using the words "
Bloodhound Gang" and "Truly clever" in the same sentence might be an oxymoron, but let me assure you that Jimmy Pop is (or, at least, was) a lyrical genius. A VOICE OF A GENERATION is what I wouldn't go so far as to say. And Hooray For Boobies has got to be their best work just because of how much effort was put into this album alone. Besides the 13 album tracks (which are generally really good), we also have 5 other joke tracks scattered among them, bringing the total to 18 all together. Then we find ourselves listening to silent track after silent track until we hit track 47, which is called "Studio Bullshit" and is just that - a bunch of talking and ridiculousness.

As much as this is a hidden track, it still isn't the most original way to do it, and is in essence the same idea as the first entry - a bunch of blank space before the final unlisted song. So most people who own this album have found this track all by themselves, well done.

What most people do NOT know however, is that when the album is played through a program like
winamp, the 28 blank tracks are each assigned a letter. Which when spelt out in order, reads "Tracks 19 Thru 46 Are Just Silence". Which is true.

This is the only example I can find like this anywhere, and even the most hardcore
BHGroupies somehow seem to overlook this.

People have also said that the 47 tracks are a reference to the 47th chromosome, which is the one that causes
Down Syndrome. And I guess if you know Bloodhound Gang, that is a definite possibility. FUNNY.

07. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)

Radiohead like to do things differently, and while other bands were hiding tracks on their albums, they went ahead and hid an entire cd-cover of artwork.

The original UK pressings of the album had a hidden booklet, all you had to do was lift up the tray underneath the cd, and there it was: 8 pages of really, really weird stuff designed by
Thom Yorke (under the alias Tchock ) and Stanley Donwood (who does all their artwork anyway). This is way above the line of duty, I am sure we can all agree, as even the main booklet itself is filled with tracing paper and other weird fold-outs that no other album I have ever seen has made use of.

The hidden booklet caused some controversy with a demonic portrait of then-British Prime Minister
Tony Blair, along with many other strange quotes and teddy bears. Of course, you can't find this anymore, but if you want to look at the entire thing, you can, over here.

You're welcome.

06. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

I was torn whether this could actually be considered an Easter Egg or not, but seeing as the original pressings of this LP are hard to come by, and the CD versions most of us newbies are familiar with do not include the gimmick... why yes, I think I'll include it.

It is one of the most recognizable cd covers of all time, even though it is just a banana. Of course, when is anything just anything when
Andy Warhol painted it? And in true Warhol fashion, you had to look closer just to get the joke.

A little message and an arrow invited the listener to "
Peel slowly and see", aimed right at the banana stem itself. Early purchases of the LP surprised people when they did just that, peeling the top layer of the banana to reveal a skinned one underneath. This must've been super expensive and probably the reason why they stopped printing these very quickly.

However, if you have one, sell it on eBay and make money. Or give it to me. Or don't, whatever. I'll kill you.

05. Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door (1979)

While we are still on the topic of album covers an what-nots, this one took me by surprise. Whilst researching for this article, I came across this one I had never heard of - which is weird because I thought I knew everything about everything, let alone
Led Zeppelin.

It's so good, it deserves a little introduction. First of all, it was designed by
Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of the Hipgnosis team. Do a little bit of research, and you will find that almost every incredible album cover ever made was done by these guys, from Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, to Muse's Black Holes and Revelations, and all the Genisis's, Black Sabbath's and Mars Volta's in-between.

But this one is special. And I don't mean just because there 6 different versions, each showing different angles of the same scene (a man burning a letter at a pub). I also don't mean the fact that the album was covered in a brown paper bag so that the buyer had no idea which one they were purchasing (an obvious ploy to get more money from the collectors).

No, the genius here lies that the images were black and white, but when wiped with a damp towel, became fully coloured. Yes, just like those books you had as a kiddie. The technique was completely irreversible, and
Hipgnosis was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980 for this stunt.

04. The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief (1973)

Ahem, back to actually hiding music within an album, we have a very special technique that is so special that modern day Cd's just cannot do it. It's called Double Grooving, and despite my best efforts, I can only find 3 examples of it ever being used.

The first is
Tool - Opiate. The Cd version of this album contains the hidden track The Gaping Lotus Experience, hidden in the traditional format: lying after a bunch of silence following the final track. However, on the Vinyl, people disovered that it just wasn't there. Oh - but it was... By dropping the needle in just the right place during Cold & Ugly, the listener could find it. It is like a hidden groove on the record that if the album was listened to from the beginning to the end, it wouldn't be picked up. Very cool.

The second example of this would be
Mr Bungle's Disco Volante, which is an untitled hidden track, but requires the listener to drop the needle in just the right place during Carry Stress In The Jaw.

But you can't beat
Monty Python's use of this technique. We aren't talking Hidden tracks here: we're talking an entire HIDDEN ALBUM. That's right, the worlds first and only triple-sided LP. So much so that the official name of the release was Free Record Given Away With The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief.

Much like the previous examples, the second side of this album played 3 tracks normally. But if you placed the stylus right, it would play 4 completely different tracks. To further the joke, the album did not have a track listing. This means that the listener may listen to the album a few times before suddenly being surprised with a bunch of tracks he/she had never heard before. Long live the kings of comedy.

03. Pink Floyd - The Wall (1979)

This Easter Egg is so simple that it won't take long to explain, but is so incredibly genius that it is often overlooked despite being the best selling album of the 1980's in USA.

Within the very first seconds of this album, if you listen closely, you will hear someone faintly say the words "
...where we came in?". You might have never noticed that before, but you will now.

Then listen to the entire album. Do it with headphones. Do it stoned. You may never come back.

After your double-album journey, listen carefully just as the album ends, and you will here that same voice, but this time saying "
isn't this...?" and then the cd cuts out.

Set it to play the first album after the second, and you will get the flawless sentence: "
Isn't this... where we came in?", a perfect way to listen to an album over and over and over.

Pink Floyd are like Easter Egg shitting machines, so I suggest you do a little more research on the topic about them. This is merely my favourite one.

02. Tool - 10,000 Days (2006)

Yes, I like
Tool. We all like Tool. I just don't like Tool as much as everyone else seems to. And as far as Tool album's go: 99% of us agree that this was their worst offering, despite the excessive packaging to try and fool you otherwise.

Tool are pretty much the heavy-weight champions of modern day ProgRock, and that isn't a title anyone should take lightly. Their collection is so long and trippy that it almost feels like the entire thing is one giant Easter Egg. But this does not stop them from hiding stuff from us, and that is the reason why this band was not only mentioned in entry #4, but why they also have this entire entry to themselves. Because this, my friends, is fucking GENIUS.

It requires some work on your part, but give it a shot: download (or rip - if you are a good person) tracks 3, 4 and 11. Now open tracks 11 and 3 (
Viginti Tres and Wings for Marie (Pt 1)) in one media player and track 4 (10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)) in a separate media player. You will notice that these tracks, when added up, both reach 11 minutes 13 seconds in length. This is not an accident.

If you manage to press Play on both players at exactly the same time, you will shit yourself as you realise that they sync up and create a monster track together as one.

So let's recap here: there are 3 tracks, when combined, make up the hidden track. Have you ever heard of anything like this, ever?? Fuck-off cool.

Marie, of course, being Maynard's mother who died before this album's release. Some people even argue that the 11 minute thing has something to do with the fact that she died in November. Yeah, maybe.

01. Aphex Twin - Windowlicker (1999)

Richard D James is the king of everything. As far as Experimental Electronic music goes, no one has yet to do anything even remotely as good as he has, and even more so, this particular song.

For anyone familiar with his work, you know that he loves to put his face on everything. EVERYTHING. In the video for this song, his face is superimposed onto the bodies of models in bikini's (much like the above image), scaring little kids all across the world. But what not many people know is this: his face is hidden INSIDE of this song.

Impossible? POSSIBLE!

All you need is a spectrograph program - try
Spectrogram, and then watch the pretty patterns this song makes just like every other song in existence. The key hits around 5:27, a massive noise you have probably heard before but paid no attention to takes place. But when viewing through the spectrograph, suddenly you are looking at Richard's face - in the music.

Lazy? Ok, it looks like this.

The song also ends with pretty spirals made by the same technique.

Since then the band
Venetian Snares has hidden cats in their songs, and various images of hands were hidden in Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails (which is also smothered in Easter Egg gold all over), but this is the first and possibly the best example in history.

This, my friends, is Easter egg holy grail, and
nothing is better.

What, haven't I said enough??

1 comment :

  1. sickness. aphex twin is a god in a mere mortal's body.

    you spelt genesis wrong in number 5, and just after that the sentence 'And I don't mean just because there' should be 'just because there're'.

    or better 'there are'