“Are You Ready To Jump Down the Rabbit Hole?”
The song you just heard has stumped the internet. It has been posted, either a portion of the song or the entire song, to numerous places online including: Reddit, a German fansite devoted to eighties synth-pop, a canadian online forum that allows users to upload obscure music in hopes of identifying it, Discord, and YouTube. It even has its own dedicated website. Links can be found in the show notes
Up to this point no one has been able to identify the name of the band or the name of the song. Maybe you will solve this mystery.
On this episode of Clouded we will try and answer 3 questions:
What is the origin of this song?
This story begins in 1984 when there was no Spotify, iTunes, or even Napster. In the years before the internet and music becoming digital, cassette tapes were sometimes used to record songs when a radio station played them live. This is what Darius did, a lot.
Most of the time he recorded songs from a radio music show called “Music for Young People” which was played on a German public radio station called NDR1. But that wasn’t his only source. Darius loved music and would hit record anytime he heard a song he liked.
On one particular cassette tape, labeled #4, was an unknown catchy tune recorded in between songs from XTC and The Cure. Darius would later digitize this song along with others he knew little about and call it his “Unknown Pleasures” playlist. This was in reference to the record of the same name by the English New Wave - Post Punk band Joy Division.
In 2004 Darius’ sister Lydia bought him a domain name as a birthday present. Initially Darius wasn’t sure what he would use the domain for. Eventually he decided to upload his “Unknown Pleasures” playlist in the hopes that someone on the web would be able to help him identify these songs.
One song really stood out to Darius’ sister. She tried in vain to find out who the band was or what the name of the song was. She searched the lyrics and found nothing. That’s when she decided to upload a snippet of the song, under thealias Anton Riedel, to German fansite devoted to eighties synth-pop and to a Canadian website devoted to identifying songs uploaded by fans called “The Spirit of Radio”. Still Nothing.
It even made it to youtube in 2011. But still no one came forward to claim it or claim to know who was behind the song. It was as if the song was the giant squid of the music world. Visiting us from another dimension.
That’s when things really went crazy.
How did it go viral?
In april of 2019, the most mysterious song on the internet took on a life of its own thanks to an unassuming 16 year old student in Sao Paulo Brazil. Gabriel da Silva Vieira loves music, as do most 16 year olds. He particularly loves post-punk bands. He was watching a Youtube Channel when a song caught his ear. He liked it so much he wanted to find out more about it’s unknown history. He ended up posting it up on his own YouTube channel and also posted it to 44 different Subreddits. That's when it went viral.
It caught some fire on Reddit and then YouTuber Justin Whang posted an episode of Tales from the Internet. Since July of 2019 the video has over 716,000 views. This created a frenzy. Several thousand users on both Reddit and Discord have been feverishly trying to discover the truth behind the song, but to no avail.
There have been some discoveries. The Reddit u/johnnymetoo posted the entire song after he had found one of Lydia’s old posts on Usenet.
Who is Behind The Song?
One of the many problems surrounding the song is that we just don’t have much information to go by. It was most likely recorded off a German public radio station, but that deoesn’t mean the band is German. The regional accent of the singer is not easily identifiable. He may be German. But he also may be Polish or Austrian. Or perhaps even from Switzerland. Nobody can quite agree on this.
What about the DJ, Paul Baskerville who still works at NDR, who was in charge of playing music in 1984 on the German program ““Music for Young People”. In an interview he gave in a Rolling Stone article he said “has no memory of the track and isn’t even sure he played it on his show”.
This may be true because in July of 2020 Reddit user u/FlexxonMobil uploaded a complete list of songs Baskerville played on his show in 1984. After much digging through by internet detectives, they concluded that the song was not on the list.
Paul Baskerville contacted Gabriel Vieira on July 24th of this year saying he had played the song on his current radio show. He said that responses from listeners suggests that he may never have actually played the song between 1982 to 1984. Baskerville told Gabriel that he thinks the song is a hoax.