The hidden percussions on a Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine record

The case of the album 101 Damnations by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine (Carter USM hereafter) is a bit peculiar: there are 25 seconds of code at the beginning of the track A Perfect Day to Drop the Bomb, but this code isn’t aimed at a computer. It targets an old Yamaha drum machine.

Instead of repeating all the previous articles each time, I’ll refer you to the dedicated page, which explains what I do with vinyl records and lists all the pages containing programs, explanations, etc.


Alright, some explanations are in order. If you search on the net, you’ll see that many people think it’s code for the ZX Spectrum. But in reality, it’s code for an old Yamaha device, an RX15. I didn’t figure this out on my own; it’s explained in a YouTube video, but I wanted to try it out myself.

First, I encoded the CD (the record also exists on vinyl or cassette, but I chose the easier route) to retrieve the 25 seconds in question. The first step, classic, was to amplify the audio (the volume was very low). Then, I acquired a Yamaha RX15. Don’t rely on eBay prices (over €100 on average), the device can be found quite easily for much less with a bit of searching (LeBonCoin, Japan, etc.). Finally, I attempted to understand how it works.

The Yamaha RX15

The method, in brief. First, you need to erase the songs in the device. Press Pattern to switch to Song, then Clear, and confirm with Accent and Stop/Continue (simultaneously), then confirm with Yes.


Then, loading the data. I connected the output of my Mac to the cassette input at the back of the machine. To load the data, once the device is on, press Function and Cassette to switch to import mode, then Function and Load to load the data, confirm with Yes, and finally start playback and confirm directly with Yes. The device will display Load Executing during importation, then Load OK when it’s done. Without amplification, it would give an error.

Audio I/Os

Once that’s done, just play the tracks (there are four). The tracks? Yes, because the data contains the percussions from several tracks, which can be played in parallel with the actual tracks. The first track is Twenty Four Minutes From Tulse Hill, the second is Sheriff Fatman, the fourth is presumably A Perfect Day to Drop the Bomb. I’m not sure about the third. The thing is, I have no idea about the tempo of the percussions, and I’m pretty bad at music and rhythm. The video I linked to at the beginning is, however, very well done to show that it coincides when you try to adjust the tempo. And I must be honest: what interests me is the technical part, how to retrieve the data and what it contains.

In the video, I just filmed the implementation and then added the audio afterward (beware, it might hurt your ears).

If there are motivated people, I can provide recordings with the tempo set in the middle on the device, and the record itself is on streaming platforms. I suppose it should be possible to adjust the tempo digitally to match the whole.