Backwards Music

  • I just was at a site with a bunch of purported “backwards masked” lyrics, and it got me wondering, it made ya sownload a forwards (normal) version, and then separately, another backwards version. Why, (especially since it is a file in memory) can’t the player simply play it backwards anyway? Is there some technical reason, or is it just that there’s not much demand for the feature? Also I realize there’s more to it than spinning the motor the other way, but is it possible to play a CD backwards in a regular CD player? - MC

I dunno about mpegs, or the format of music CDs; but as far as plain old .WAV files go, you can play them backwards with Sound Recorder, which comes with Windows. I suspect that the site you mentioned has backwards versions of the files just to save people some hassle.

Old joke:
Q: What do you hear when you play a country-western song backwards?

A: “I got my job back, my wife came back to me, and I quit drinking.”

A lot of wave players can play the same file backwards or forwards. Look for some feature listed as reverse or retrograde.

Cd players don’t generally feature backwards play, cause, who would want it?

It wouldn’t be a matter of motor reversal though. Any player with a buffer could easily load the file, and then the electronics could do the reversal part.
Isn’t this what you hear with most fast rewind features already?
The reversal is way too fast to be intelligble though.

Some higher end players (dat’s or mini-disc)that have a vari-speed shuttle control will go slow enough, like .5 to 32 times normal, but oddly enough, since the feature is used mostly for locating specific sections, the samples are played foward, even when reverse shuttled.

I have to wonder: What would prompt someone to try to play a CD/vinyl record/cassette/whatever, backwards in the first place?
In the Sixties I bought a copy of the novelty record “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha_haaa” by Napoleon XIV. On the flip side was the recording in reverse. I tried to check this own by running the record backwards on the turntable–and ruined the surface of the record.
So, besides what I said about why someone would think to play something backwards in the first place, there is always the risk of damaging one’s sound equipment.

how else ya gonna here the masters voice?

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

If you are going to play a record backwards it would be worthwhile to filp the needle backwards before you play if possible. This allows it to function just as well backwards as forwards with little chance of hurting the record.

My favorite backwards message on an album - the odd noises at the end of side two on Overkill’s Feel The Fire debut (1994, Megaforce), when played backwards, contains the following:

“There’s no message here. You’re going to ruin your needle, asshole!”

Brian O’Neill
CMC International Records

ICQ 35294890
AIM Scrabble1
Yahoo Messenger Brian_ONeill

Regarding strangely mastered albums…

Monty Pyton’s Matching Tie and Handkerchief album actually had 3 sides.

One side (who know which one since they were both labeled side B) actually had 2 concentric tracks. Depending on where the needle began to contact the groove, you would hear one of two different programs.

There was no mention of this anywhere on the album, so it made a lot of people think that they were going crazy since they would replay the album and hear material they had never heard before.

A trivia question…

How many grooves on each side of the average record album?


One very long spiral one.