Various Artists
'LESS-LETHAL, vol. 2'
(ALKU 77, 2014)

Limited edition embroidered shoulder patches and digital compilation featuring tracks by Antoine Chessex, Batch Totem, Dave Phillips, Hecker, Gert-Jan Prins, Gijs Gieskes, Goodiepal, Government Alpha, John Wiese, KK Null, Kotra, Margaret and Jean Nichols, Mark Fell, Rubén Patiño, The Bran Flakes, Wobbly. Liner notes by Paul Paulun and Perfecto Herrera.

Patch diameter: 73 mm. Comes in a kraft paper envelope with a red wax seal containing a riddle/download code.
2 models: TRIDENT and CUBE.


Even though neuroscience has yet to prove the effectiveness of so called subliminal advertising techniques, backward persuasive messages, and self-help subliminal tapes, these and other popular phenomena have played a significant role in the common beliefs regarding subliminal perception since the mid 1950s. [1]

Despite the much publicized court cases for suicides allegedly linked to satanic messages in rock songs, or the relatively high sales of healing tapes with sub audible content, those prominent examples of subliminal suggestion are in fact little less than hoaxes and commercial gimmicks. [2]

In the modern military context, a number of renowned episodes, purportedly connect sound based less lethal techniques to subliminal strategies – all of them also unproven to date. Military experts in recent times may have often failed [3], but for thousands of years, humanity has been aware of the power of sound and music, both at a physiological and psychological level. Examples include mantra recitation in Eastern post Vedic religions, word painting techniques in Western music (from plainchant to modern pop music), the tritone interval known in the Western world as "diabolus in musica", and so forth.

The tracks in this collection, the second in the LESS LETHAL series, explore this compendium of fact and myth from very different standpoints. From simple yet effective psychoacoustic tricks, to various forms of backmasking and symbolic encoding exercises conceived on the very fringes of pareidolia. [4]

These shoulder patches were directly inspired by Trevor Paglen's book I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me. Emblems from the Pentagon's Dark World published by Melville House.

[1] Vokey, John R. (2002). "Subliminal Messages". in John R. Vokey and Scott W. Allen. Psychological Sketches (6th edition ed.). Lethbridge, Alberta: Psyence Ink. pp. 223–246.
[2] Blecha, Peter (2004). Taboo Tunes: A History of Banned Bands and Censored Songs. Backbeat Books.
[3] Paulun, P. (2007). "Boing - Boom - Tschak. Music, sound and sonic technologies in military contexts". in LESS-LETHAL, vol. 1, ALKU.
[4] from Wikipedia: "The term pareidolia (...) describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant."

Multi-track hidden message by Rubén Patiño.

Gijs Gieskes' Image Scan Sequencer used to convert/obfuscate text into sound.