The code in Under Gail Succubus

One notable feature of the Under Gail Succubus album is that every one of the original copies has an individual serial number. This was a crazy idea, that only worked so long as the sales were in the hundreds. To do this I used a VST to make sonic signatures in a batch, then ran another batch that added this to the master audio and burned a disc. The idea was that if somebody uploaded the disc the signature would be there and I would have their serial.

No one uploaded the disc. That might be a success. It might also be that UGS was not popular enough. Once it became a download, the serial numbers only indicate if the album was from iTunes or Bandcamp.

So where is the signature? We’ll use Adobe Audition. Load the track Three Doors. Listen right at the very end and you hear three tones. Here’s what that looks like.

A

Simply switch on the spectral view and

B

The distortion is due to the logarithmic scale used in Audition. These days it’s easy to make and read these signatures, but back then it took a fair bit of fussing.

As with just about every prank I pull, no one ever noticed that the ‘three doors’ were plainly audible at the end of the song. Probably because I only discovered later that there’s a band called Three Doors Down (yes I am sheltered) and obviously I’d heard those words and adopted them without realising where they came from. Cut the title quick smart!

Here’s some more fun facts about UGS!

  • A woman’s laugh is hidden in every track. (Gail!)
  • The main lyrics for Snuck are from the wife’s sleep talking to somebody called Lillian. Over many nights.
  • Most tracks are about atomic war and the aftermath.
  • Three Doors is about dying from a heart attack.
  • Inside The Girl has a lot of mixed references but ‘it’s black and it’s tan’ is about my family’s antique bowler hat. About which I was horrified when I realised the significance.
  • Bruise Vienna was a challenge to only use the sound fonts that I used when teaching secondary students at the time. Vienna is a sound font editor.
  • I called it Under Gail Succubus after a fake band name I made around the time I knew Skinny Puppy. The album revisits a lot of the techniques I was using around that time, and reminded me of working on that track Assimilate (overly loud compressed strings for example).

One thought on “The code in Under Gail Succubus”

  1. I really enjoy learning some extra layers to the work, thanks Tom!
    Also thought it funny…a couple days ago I saw Skinny Puppy play a great show at the Majestic in Detroit!
    Cheers

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