It’s unclear when Radiohead made this cute little computer program. If it was indeed in December 1996, the band was way ahead of their experimental music peers in using sound to create working code. Aphex Twin (a.k.a. Richard James) secretly hid a demonic-looking face in one of the tracks on his 1999 album Windowlicker. The demon face is most likely Richard James himself, doing his sinister smile, and it took two years after the release for anybody to find the image.


As with Radiohead’s new Easter egg, neither Aphex Twin nor its record label advertised the hidden message. According to a 2002 report in Wired, an electronic musician calling himself Chaos was “playing around with WinAmp one evening when he spotted the diabolical face.” Without going into too much detail, James apparently hid the images in this song and others using the Mac-based synthesizer MetaSynth. If you really want to geek out about it, here’s a great blog post about “the Aphex face” that includes phrases like “logarithmic frequency scale.”

If all this leaves you wondering about the future of vinyl and cassette tapes and CDs, that’s a good thing. Radiohead has always gone to brilliantly creative lengths when it comes to making and distributing their albums. The band let customers pay whatever they wanted, including one cent, to download its 2007 release In Rainbows. Then, they turned around and sold the same fans a tricked out vinyl/CD box set for $82, all without enlisting a record label.


The boxed edition of OKNOTOK, the OK Computer 20th anniversary package, costs a stunning $130. It includes the remastered album on three vinyl records, along with some drawings, a book of lyrics, some of Thom Yorke’s “scrawled notes,” a sketchbook of “preparatory work,” and, of course, that C90 cassette tape with that lovely little Spectrum ZX computer program on it. Is it all worth it? That depends on how big a Radiohead fan you are.

[Reddit via Engadget]