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9 Beet Stretch
July 27, 2002 1:14 AM   Subscribe

9 Beet Stretch - What if you took Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which normally runs about 70 minutes (this is, incidentally, the reason CDs are the length they are), and stretched it out to 24 hours using digital audio processing? The pitch remains intact; only the length is changed. What you end up with can only be called majestic and ethereal, kind of an orchestral version of loveliescrushing. For your convenience, you can listen to the work in one-hour, twenty-minute RealAudio chunks. Hm, I wonder what other music might work well with such radical time-expansion... (via interconnected)
posted by kindall (43 comments total)

 
Actually, it sounds dreadful. In fact, they should use it to torture people. Appalling.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:26 AM on July 27, 2002


Or time compression - the guy who does Mappings, the new music program on my station, once played me this tape a piece where someone overdubbed, to be exact--but in the context of a then fairly state-of-the-art studio--Wagner's Ring Cycle down to five minutes. Which was five minutes of solid crescendo, as I recall.

Then Brian Eno's arrangement of Pachebel's Canon comes to mind, too--in the very slow and languid arrangement sense.. Great post.
posted by y2karl at 1:45 AM on July 27, 2002


Hmm... I think it feels a bit rushed at its current pace. Maybe they should have stretched it to a year.
posted by epimorph at 1:46 AM on July 27, 2002


Sounds good, not a thoroughly new idea, but not yet boring either after 25 minutes. (And the errors keep it interesting, too.) I'll keep it.
I remember a dutch tapecomposer once reconstructed the entire "Mondscheinsonata" for piano by the selfsame Ludwig thusly: he took one sample of the first note, sped it up or slowed it down, lengthened it or cut it short, and spliced it all together to resurrect the original. All done with tape, scissors, glue. Those were the days...
Lots of Googling doesn't reveal the name who that was, though.
posted by disso at 2:55 AM on July 27, 2002


That's what it sounds like to some sci-fi fruit fly guy (and all the girls say he's pretty... nah) whirring in the rafters. I'd a thousand times rather hear twenty consecutive ninths at a normal tempo than one homeopathic-strength recording for twenty-four hours.
posted by pracowity at 3:48 AM on July 27, 2002


And all this time I thought the 15 minute version of "This Corrosion" was stretching things too far. What next? an infinate loop of Autobahn?
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:54 AM on July 27, 2002


bored as i am, i've decided to do this with a random song... "mother" by danzig. pray for my soul...
posted by fnord_prefect at 5:10 AM on July 27, 2002


ow. based upon that experience, i have concluded that time-stretching algorithms are a tool of the devil. and not one of the good ones like alcohol.
posted by fnord_prefect at 5:20 AM on July 27, 2002


If you want to hear what disgustingly overhashed classical music sounds like.. just buy William Orbit's album, "Pieces in a Modern Style." He doesn't just slow down the pieces, he ruins them in the process! Worst. Album. Ever.
posted by wackybrit at 6:10 AM on July 27, 2002


It's possible that the length of CDs=beethoven's 5th is an urban myth.
posted by mecran01 at 6:21 AM on July 27, 2002


well gee. what if you took all of michael jacksons hits, tossed them into a wood chipper with some nougat and fed the mash to cattle, and then recorded and radically time-expanded the farts? like mooo, d00d!
posted by quonsar at 6:29 AM on July 27, 2002


Beethoven's 9th, Mecran. From a site that tries to disprove urban legends, I got:

"We had a big debate with Philips on the size of the CD disc. I was pushing 10 cm, because it was a round number and a very small disc. Sony was very interested in having a portable CD player from the very beginning. Philips was pushing for a much larger disc***. Mr. Oga finally made the decision that he wanted something which could hold the entire Beethoven's 9th Symphony on a single disc. "

So it at least seems a likely story.
posted by wackybrit at 6:32 AM on July 27, 2002


They need to do this with Sister Ray by the Velvet Underground. Or Love Will Tear Us Apart (or She's Lost Control) by Joy Division.
posted by Fahrenheit at 7:01 AM on July 27, 2002


i use slowgold all the time, to help pick out difficult chords and solos. since i don't have the best ear, it's very helpful to slow down the song.
posted by lescour at 7:12 AM on July 27, 2002


My brother was experimenting with this a while ago. He was trading copies of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless at half speed for live bootlegs on the Drone-On Digest. He also did a really facinating sound-fuckery of "I Only Have Eyes For You."

And it also brings to mind, like y2karl already said, Eno's Pachibel Cannon, which was actually done in the 70's with a bunch of tape loop machines (if memory serves me correctly).
posted by password at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2002


I didn't like Pieces In a Modern Style at first, but strangely enough it grew on me, and now it is ok.
posted by benh57 at 7:18 AM on July 27, 2002


lescour, missed that on preview--hey, cool: that beats Jerry Garcia slowing down cuts on the Anthology Of American Music to 16 rpm to learn the guitar parts--and, gee, on this thread's timetable, you think you might be able to learn them over a year...
posted by y2karl at 7:19 AM on July 27, 2002


And it also brings to mind, like y2karl already said, Eno's Pachebel Cannon, which was actually done in the 70's with a bunch of tape loop machines (if memory serves me correctly).

That was the other side--Discreet Music. On the Pachebel's Canon, he used real humans actual bowed string instruments. Producing beautiful affectless mood music about, not unlike the famous Seinfeld episode, nothing... And that was the first time I heard the Canon, too...

Hoo hoo, and après Google, here it is--from Discreet Music, Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachebel performed by The Cockpit Ensemble, conducted by Gavin Bryars (who also helped arrange the pieces)--in 128k stream, for the lucky some, and mp3 available, to boot!
posted by y2karl at 7:33 AM on July 27, 2002


bah, will it last 1000 years?
posted by machaus at 7:34 AM on July 27, 2002


As long as I don't have to sing in the 24 hour version, have fun guys!

As for the issue of the CD length, I was taught this same story in grad school. Granted, not everything you learn in school is correct, but there are people alive who can confirm/deny this story.
posted by ilsa at 8:51 AM on July 27, 2002


if you fast forward past the very beginning towards 20 mins or so, it sounds a lot better. sounds great amazing wonderful actually.
posted by Satapher at 9:04 AM on July 27, 2002


What Satapher said. It's funny when you've been listening to it for a while, and forget what it is. Then you hear something that reminds you of what you're hearing and you go "oh yeah!".
posted by GriffX at 9:17 AM on July 27, 2002


Hmmmm... nougat.

quonsar, you should apply for a grant!
posted by slipperywhenwet at 9:17 AM on July 27, 2002


Ugh, real audio. I just removed RA from the startup... I'm not about to let it fuck my computer up again....
posted by delmoi at 9:33 AM on July 27, 2002


Snopes talks about the origins of the 74-minute CD length. Status: undetermined.
posted by waxpancake at 10:04 AM on July 27, 2002


w                h                     a                          t 
 
w i l l

t h e y

t h i n k

o f

n e x t

?

posted by billder at 10:35 AM on July 27, 2002


I didn't like Pieces In a Modern Style at first, but strangely enough it grew on me, and now it is ok.

benh57: Part of my hatred for the album stems from the fact I felt I was conned into buying it. At the time, Orbit's remix of 'Barbers' Adagio for Strings' was in the charts, and it was a really high powered dance version of the song, so I thought the whole album might be great dance versions of classical tunes.

Instead, I was treated to mental hospital music, which while nice in its way, was not what I wanted. Since it cost me £15.99 ($24) I was pissed, and I refuse to forgive it ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 10:46 AM on July 27, 2002


About 14 minutes into the fifth movement is pretty good too. ;)
posted by kindall at 11:17 AM on July 27, 2002


Absolutely wonderful. It's a shame that you can hear the RealAudio artifacts sometimes, though. This reminds me of Stock Hausen & Walkman's album when they released the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" played at 1 RPM.
posted by panopticon at 11:43 AM on July 27, 2002


5th movement? Sorry, Kindall. The 9th has the standard 4 movements. Are you by any chance thinking of Beethoven's 6th symphony? Perhaps the 5th Symphony?
posted by ilsa at 11:48 AM on July 27, 2002


I wonder what other music might work well with such radical time-expansion...

How about "Inna Gadda Da Vida?"
posted by jonmc at 12:16 PM on July 27, 2002


Well, for me I get pretty much the same effect listening to a sea shell. I suppose it makes okay meditation music.

I hear next up is stretchng John Cage's 4'33" to 4h33', but expect a better audio format for that one.
posted by HTuttle at 12:42 PM on July 27, 2002


Its odd that stretching out natural instruments sounds exactly like the sounds you can get out of even the cheapest synths. Are we just listening to digital artifacts more than we listening to instruments or music?
posted by skallas at 12:51 PM on July 27, 2002


Dalek, that reminds me of my introduction to Sisters of Mercy. Someone copied New Order's greatest hits thing that got so popular in the 80s on a tape for me and stuck a SOM song on the end, except it was recorded at half speed. So I'm saying "Dude you messed this up" and he's saying "No, thats how they sound, they're really weird". So I finally track down the proper tape and realize that no, thats not how SOM sounds.
posted by mutagen at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2002


5th movement? Sorry, Kindall. The 9th has the standard 4 movements. Are you by any chance thinking of Beethoven's 6th symphony? Perhaps the 5th Symphony?

Well, when I actually click the link, I see a fifth movement listed. Oddly enough when I check an actual recording of the Ninth, there are indeed only four movements. But the page says it's the Ninth.

Perhaps the "recomposer" added another division... but if you go and click the link, you can pretty easily figure out what part I'm talking about.

Are we just listening to digital artifacts more than we listening to instruments or music?

There are undoubtedly some digital artifacts in there; I'd love to hear it in full fidelity.
posted by kindall at 1:12 PM on July 27, 2002


Well! That will teach me to actually follow links...

/me apologizes to Kindall for not anticipating the mistakes of others.
posted by ilsa at 1:21 PM on July 27, 2002


ilsa - fwiw, I have a recording of the 9th conducted by John Eliot Gardiner that lists four movements but divides the fourth movement into two tracks - "Presto" and the final chorus.
posted by lbergstr at 1:32 PM on July 27, 2002


RealAudio is insidious, delmoi, but if you ever install it again, there's a stage where a prompt tells you--and advises you against doing so--that you can customize the media player options. Just click on customize and remove RealPlayer as the default on everything but RealAudio. If you load it as is, it becomes the default player for everything imaginable.

As my station broadcasts in RA, I found out the hard way--I downloaded WinDac to rip my CDs to .wav files so I could convert them with RealProducer. The *string of expletives deleted* RealAudio turned itself on everytime I loaded a new CD. God, that drove me crazy.

But once you remove the universal defaults which the RealPlayer installer comes so thoughtfully provides you, it's not--except for the little messages that pop up from time to time--an annoyance anymore.

As for digital artifacts, I'm lucky: music from the era of the 78s, which is the bulk of what I play, fares much better than modern stuff.
posted by y2karl at 2:07 PM on July 27, 2002


For those thinking about creating their own variations, you might also consider your own performance/creation of the classic 'I am sitting in a room'
(
One version)

I suppose every generation has it's own esoteric markers, and I remember being facinated by this, back when I was facinated by such things.
posted by HTuttle at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2002


Oops, should have linked to page one on that. 'I am sitting in a room'
posted by HTuttle at 2:50 PM on July 27, 2002


wow, it kinda sounds like vangelis! or like the opening sequence to ST:tNG :)
posted by kliuless at 4:58 PM on July 27, 2002


How about "Inna Gadda Da Vida?"

I'll take that challenge...
posted by fnord_prefect at 6:11 PM on July 27, 2002


great dance versions of classical tunes

An oxymoron if ever I heard one (and I like dance music).
posted by Markb at 5:13 AM on July 29, 2002


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