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Epic Pop
August 17, 2010 3:25 AM   Subscribe

Justin Bieber's 'U Smile', played 800 time slower. Sounds like Sigur Ros doing Vangelis covers in a cathedral being washed away by the sea. The original song.
posted by Happy Dave (177 comments total) 98 users marked this as a favorite

 
800% slower != 800x slower (just to be pedantic), but good nevertheless.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:34 AM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I... really like this.
posted by Shepherd at 3:46 AM on August 17, 2010


I stretched Miles Davis's "Shhhh/Peaceful" to 2 hours once. It sounded nowhere near as brilliant as this.
posted by Jimbob at 3:54 AM on August 17, 2010


Better than expected and aptly described. "800% Slower Justin Bieber" should become a celebrity unto himself.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:05 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Amusingly, the Youtube videos of the same song are all rapidly acquiring comments asking what joker sped up this awesome song 800%. Hur hur hur.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:05 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


So do Sigur Ros albums sound like a tween pop band when sped up?
posted by public at 4:09 AM on August 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


800% slower != 800x slower (just to be pedantic), but good nevertheless.

Yeah. there's a pretty big difference. 800 times slower would be 80,000% and 800% slower would be 8x slower.

It does sound pretty interesting at this speed. However, this now means I've now knowingly listened to a Justin Beiber song.
posted by delmoi at 4:10 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Where did Justin Bieber even come from?

I went to work one day and apparently everyone suddenly knew who he was.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:13 AM on August 17, 2010 [41 favorites]


800 times slower would be 80,000% and 800% slower would be 8x slower.

None of these make any sense. You can be twice as fast or half as fast but you can't be twice as slow.

See also and also also.
posted by DU at 4:15 AM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Bieber's story is actually a pretty cool one, in that he circumvented the music publishing business - his opening buzz was totally grass-roots from the videos he put up on YouTube. I heard some marketing person on NPR talk about how he generated a kind of genuine word-of-mouth appeal that the Hannah Montana people wish they could have done.

It appears that in the months since, though, he's become a jerk.
posted by jbickers at 4:18 AM on August 17, 2010


Wow, that's really something. It was available for download on Soundcloud but it seems to have reached its download limit. Does anyone have a link for a torrent or some such?
posted by sveskemus at 4:22 AM on August 17, 2010


However, this now means I've now knowingly listened to a Justin Beiber song.

Well, shit happens ;)
posted by SAnderka at 4:23 AM on August 17, 2010


For anyone interested, I've just tried the same experiment in reverse: Svefn-G-Englar by Sigur Ros at 300% speed. Justin Bieber's next hit?
posted by him at 4:39 AM on August 17, 2010 [38 favorites]


You can be twice as fast or half as fast but you can't be twice as slow.

You're right. It's one of those areas where english and maths don't quite mesh.

However, it's a reasonably safe bet to assume that when people say 'twice as slow', they mean 'half as fast', and that when they say '800% slower', they mean 'one eighth as fast', since '800% faster' is 'eight times faster', and dividing by eight is the inverse operation of multiplying by eight.

I want to hear Sigur Rós slowed down to 12.5% of normal speed now.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:42 AM on August 17, 2010


Lovely. Who knew?

Actually, I'm sort of amazed at how artifact-free and smooth the timestretch is.
posted by sonascope at 4:44 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


sonic meat machine: "Where did Justin Bieber even come from?

I went to work one day and apparently everyone suddenly knew who he was.
"

Same here. We heard a joke about him on "Wait, wait, Don't Tell Me" about three months ago and my wife and I both said at the same time, "Who's Justin Beaver?" Within a week he seemed to be everywhere.
posted by octothorpe at 4:45 AM on August 17, 2010


For anyone interested, I've just tried the same experiment in reverse

That is actually really really cool sounding.
posted by arcolz at 4:46 AM on August 17, 2010


When I was in my teens, my stepfather had a reel-to-reel tape recorder which did four speeds. He wasn't using it, so I got to play with it, and experiment with speeding things up and slowing them down. I remember recording the music from a Commodore 64 game (it was a SID-chip arrangement of some baroque classical composition, IIRC) and slowing it down; the result sounded ponderously eerie, and almost funereal.
posted by acb at 4:47 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


However, it's a reasonably safe bet to assume that when people say 'twice as slow', they mean 'half as fast'...

Yes, that's reasonable.

...and that when they say '800% slower', they mean 'one eighth as fast', since '800% faster' is 'eight times faster', and dividing by eight is the inverse operation of multiplying by eight.

I actually would not find this a safe bet because I'm not even certain that "800% faster" means "8 times faster". 100% faster is twice the speed. Is that 2 times "faster"? Or is that 1 times "faster"? Or is it 2 times as fast? So 800% faster could mean 9 times the speed, which means 800% slower would be...1/9th the speed? Or 1/7th?

Maybe 800% slower means 800% longer which means 8 (or maybe 9) times as long and then it would indeed be 1/8 (or 1/9) the speed.
posted by DU at 4:51 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


This doesn't sound pitched down. Did he times stretch it?
posted by empath at 4:53 AM on August 17, 2010


Does this mean it's time for the kick?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:54 AM on August 17, 2010 [32 favorites]


arcolz: That is actually really really cool sounding.

It actually makes me wonder if Sigur Ros record at this kind of speed and then slow it down.
posted by him at 4:56 AM on August 17, 2010


his opening buzz was totally grass-roots from the videos he put up on YouTube. I heard some marketing person on NPR talk about how he generated a kind of genuine word-of-mouth appeal that the Hannah Montana people wish they could have done.

So he's the Tea Party of tween pop?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:01 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually would not find this a safe bet because I'm not even certain that "800% faster" means "8 times faster". 100% faster is twice the speed. Is that 2 times "faster"? Or is that 1 times "faster"? Or is it 2 times as fast? So 800% faster could mean 9 times the speed, which means 800% slower would be...1/9th the speed? Or 1/7th?

Again, english and maths aren't playing well together.

'100% extra free' on a product works fine, because we know we're getting an additional 100%, so twice as much as normal. I'd actually agree with you and say that strictly, '800% faster' neans nine times as fast, whereas '800% as fast' means eight times the original speed.

Where it all goes wibbly-wobbly is that when someone says '800% faster', they're more likely to mean 'eight times as fast' than 'nine times as fast', because the second option requires thinking much more carefully about the wording.

Slow-food plate of beans.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:07 AM on August 17, 2010


Where did Justin Bieber even come from?

A nutrient-filled vat on the deepest level of an abandoned nuclear missile silo in South Dakota.

They were going for another Justin Timberlake, but they undercooked the batch.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:13 AM on August 17, 2010 [17 favorites]


That is surprisingly lovely.

I went to work one day and apparently everyone suddenly knew who he was.

My First Bieber (not to be confused with My Last Duchess, of course) was I believe provided by the A.V. Club's late, lamented Hater Podcast, which gleefully reported that he had a swagger coach. I giggled for a second, then had the same "who?" reaction.
posted by kittyprecious at 5:16 AM on August 17, 2010


It actually makes me wonder if Sigur Ros record at this kind of speed and then slow it down.

Having seen them live several times, they certainly are able to pull off their sound at normal speed.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:19 AM on August 17, 2010


Answering my own question, he used PaulStretch. It sounds remarkably clean. Usually time stretching something this much sounds awful.

Also, original post is here.
posted by empath at 5:19 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I finally beat Paperboy on my friend's ZX Spectrum by playing the tape at half speed.
posted by Sutekh at 5:24 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Listening to that, I actually got chills. Amazing. Thanks for posting!
posted by kcds at 5:28 AM on August 17, 2010


Hey empath, thanks for finding the original post, I googled but didn't spot that one.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:30 AM on August 17, 2010


I don't see anything wrong with "twice as slow". It just means the measure of slowness has doubled, whatever measurement you happen to be using (usually time taken for something to complete). "Twice as fast" works in exactly the same sense, where usually the appropriate measure of "fastness" would be number of things completed in a given time (i.e. a frequency, e.g. 300 beats per minute).

I doubt many people use 'n% faster' to mean n/100 times as fast (rather than (1+n/100) times as fast), since e.g. '50% faster' would then mean half the speed. Only 50% as fast makes sense. The standard usage seems to be 'as fast' == multiplicative, 'faster' = additive.
posted by snoktruix at 5:30 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kept thinking, "when is it going to kick in?" And then I realized... it already had. This is really more about the stretching algorithm than the source material, I think. And it sounds really great.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:38 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have a link for a torrent or some such?

Direct download from Mediafire

Paulstretch is an amazing little piece of software. Most of you have probably heard it before, too - there are Hollywood sound designers who swear by it in the crazy sound creation department. I think this is the video where Eric Aadahl talks about using it in Transformers 2.

Also, anyone interested in this should sure as hell check out 9 Beet Stretch by Leif Inge. It's a recording of Beethoven's 9th stretched to 24 hours. Some of you might recognize it from the Radiolab Episode Time. When I was in college, and spending every free second at the campus radio station, I badly wanted to take over the entire station for a day just so I could play all 24 hours.
posted by god hates math at 5:40 AM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


LANGAUGE UNFAIL! ALERT THE AUTHORITEES!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:45 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well hell, I thought I'd worked out that at that speed a 3:09 song would last 42 hours and had a nice joke that while Justin Bieber does sound better played 800 times slower, the flip side of that is that you've got a 42 hour Justin Bieber song.

Then I get in here and a bunch of damn math and grammar nazis have pissed all over my parade. Preemptively.

That's right, I said nazis. GODWIN, GODWIN, GODWIN. There. That's for ruining my joke.
posted by Naberius at 5:46 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does this mean it's time for the kick?

In case you haven't seen this yet (and it's potentially spoilery, but on the other hand only makes sense if you've seen the film) - there may be hidden meaning in the musical cues from Inception.
posted by ZsigE at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2010 [17 favorites]


Does this mean it's time for the kick?

In case you haven't seen this yet (and it's potentially spoilery, but on the other hand only makes sense if you've seen the film) - there may be hidden meaning in the musical cues from Inception.


Mind=blown.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:05 AM on August 17, 2010


None of these make any sense. You can be twice as fast or half as fast but you can't be twice as slow.

Uh what? If A is twice as fast as B, then B is twice as slow as A. Duh.

Svefn-G-Englar by Sigur Ros at 300% speed. Justin Bieber's next hit?

I actually sped that up in VLC an additional 50%. Which would also be 150% faster then the original song and also 150% as fast as the sped up song for a total of 450% as fast as the original. So of course that would have made the original 350% slower, making the new track about 22% as long as the original.
posted by delmoi at 6:09 AM on August 17, 2010


See, all these people have known all along that Justin Bieber is a genius. You just have to know how to listen.
posted by daniel_charms at 6:12 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was great, it was like the opposite of playing the record backwards and hearing the devil - he played to record forward and slower and made it sound good.

Fascinating.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:13 AM on August 17, 2010


Well, the original song is 3 minutes and 9 seconds long, according to the youtube time stamp, and the slowed down version is 35 minutes and 29 seconds. Multiplying out into seconds for convenience...

Original: 189 seconds
Modified: 2129 seconds

189 / 2129 = 8.8774%, or between 1/11 (9.09%) and 1/12 (8.33%) speed.
posted by JDHarper at 6:14 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, anyone interested in this should sure as hell check out 9 Beet Stretch by Leif Inge.

Yeah, that's the first thing that occurred to me too. I've been waiting for the DVD of that for years... the home page still says "due in 2007".
posted by dfan at 6:14 AM on August 17, 2010


I kinda like this metal version of Bieber's Baby.
posted by ts;dr at 6:16 AM on August 17, 2010


So if you play Justin Bieber at 1/8th speed, he turns into M83?

I wonder if that works in reverse.
posted by mhoye at 6:18 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


this definitely makes me wonder what other songs would sound like with the same treatment.
Anyone want to do this to Baba O'Reilly?
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:19 AM on August 17, 2010


One of the best songs on the World of Goo soundtrack (available here free), "Red Carpet Extend-o-matic," was created by taking a super-cheesy 90's dance track and slowing it down to become something epic.

I'm listening to it again for the first time in a while and it's giving me chills.
posted by straight at 6:27 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I woke up, I didn't say to myself, "the best thing I will listen to all day is a Justin Bieber song." Yet here I am.
posted by desjardins at 6:41 AM on August 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is like the way I tried to read Ulysses one drunken summer.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:43 AM on August 17, 2010


it's a reasonably safe bet to assume that when people say 'twice as slow', they mean 'half as fast'

I think it's more reasonable to assume that when people say "twice as slow" they really mean "I'm a fucking imbecile with the IQ of a kumquat," who proceed to ask you to "explain them" something.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:49 AM on August 17, 2010


Wow. I am totally using this as background music in my massage studio.
posted by headnsouth at 6:55 AM on August 17, 2010


Wow. This is pretty amazing. I want to do this to my third grader's entire playlist.
posted by padraigin at 7:06 AM on August 17, 2010


If someone would bother to transform all of the Bieberhits similarly, I would pay good money. This is incredible.

This also means Justin Bieber could be two successful musicians at once, and that thought scares me.
posted by good day merlock at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2010


I am somewhat jealous of those who say that they've only heard of Justin Bieber recently. I teach middle school. More to the point, I teach middle school girls. You have no idea.

That said, this is awesome. Thanks for posting.
posted by Chanther at 7:38 AM on August 17, 2010


That is some impressive motherfucking turd polishing. I almost want to put it in my mouth.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:45 AM on August 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


This is great. Anybody know if there's anything like Paulstretch that would work on Mac OS X?
posted by Beardman at 8:00 AM on August 17, 2010


Beardman you are in luck my friend!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:17 AM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anybody know if there's anything like Paulstretch that would work on Mac OS X?

You could in (totally untested on my part) theory compile the linux source on a mac. Results on that front tend to vary from project to project.

I grabbed the windows binary just to duck the issue, and have thrown a song I recorded yesterday at it, and it's already the same sort of amazing washy epic feel.

PaulStretch's approach to rolling-average time-stretching really makes a very pretty ambient sound, but as a result it leaves a really strong acoustic fingerprint on the output—essentially you get a lot of echo and pre-echo built into the track to keep it from sounding awful and choppy the way naive time-stretch algorithms tend to do at large ratios.

This is seriously a pretty great setup for auto-ambient soundtracks.
posted by cortex at 8:20 AM on August 17, 2010


We have been schooled by TWPL. Thanks!
posted by Beardman at 8:22 AM on August 17, 2010


this definitely makes me wonder what other songs would sound like with the same treatment

If you use something like Paulstretch, yes. It's not precisely slowing the song down, though that is the intended result. It's actually stretching the waveform out to really great lengths and then using "spectral smoothing" to smooth out the inevitable artifacts that occur with such distortion. The spectral smoothing is really the key to why this sounds so nice.
posted by jnrussell at 8:25 AM on August 17, 2010


This is just beautiful. Thank you! I can't believe I now have a "Justin Bieber" music folder....
posted by biscotti at 8:28 AM on August 17, 2010


If I were you I'd just rename it "Juuuuuusstiiiiiiiiiiiiin Biiieeeeeeeeeeeeebeeeerrrr" to be on the safe side.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:34 AM on August 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


That was creepy but I have no taste in music. He sounds like Natasha Bedingfield, except more feminine.

What are they going to do when his voice changes?
posted by anniecat at 8:35 AM on August 17, 2010


So here's for example a similarly slowed version of a messy pop-rock recording I made yesterday called Moses Made the Middle Part. What's interesting to me here is the aesthetic similarity of the results—hardly identical, there are big tonal differences and the Beiber song has a much smoother and layered feel to it post-stretching with mine more hard-edged, but the overall slow smooth lurch is there, the big timpanic and epic crash-roll rumbles from transformed snare/tom hits and splash cymbal hits, etc.

My question at this point is basically "what songs would sound most like something significantly different from every other song put through this process". What input most thoroughly escapes the saming-effect of such a heavy-handed (if very likable) audio process?
posted by cortex at 8:44 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


That kid is deep.
posted by nicolin at 8:46 AM on August 17, 2010


I queued this up at the start of my morning Metafilter read, buried in some hidden tab. And every couple of minutes it comes to the fore of my attention again and I keep wondering "what is this awesome music?" It works quite well.

The downside of this technique is I imagine pretty much every pop song will sound the same. Also I have to wonder if the auto-tune and chorus doubling of the original song somehow interacts with the spectral smoothing of the slow version to make some super beautiful algorithmic sonic purity.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 AM on August 17, 2010


So a couple months back a friend of mine got me into DJ Screw. Amazing stuff; the closest I've heard to noise music coming from the world of hip-hop, and so good I can't believe it's popular. Yay drugs! Anyhow this led me to start "screwing" with rock songs. I quickly discovered how to make Bratmobile sound like L7, much to their advantage (and I say this as a long-time Bratmobile fan). Passed a couple tracks around and now I've done "official" screwed-up versions for a few local bands. What I'm saying is that I'd better ride this wave before it crashes (slowly, with exaggerated facial expressions and water hits).

However, I did not listen to this track, as awesome as I'm sure it is, because I've been Bieber-free since day one and not sure I want that to change yet. I'm still not sure I've heard Lady Gaga - the track I was assured was her sounded just like Ladytron.
posted by jtron at 8:52 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think turning this into a recognition game could be interesting. Just trying to decode what I'm hearing into the source material is hard when I know what I'm listening to. Picking the most iconic bar out of a given famous pop song, slowing that, and seeing if people figure it out would be interesting.

Processing a few more things. This is a fun thing.
posted by cortex at 8:57 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cortex, please, please make that game.
posted by good day merlock at 9:03 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That would be interesting. I just did a well-known track and I'm not going to post it because it's not interesting enough IMO. But I had the same thought about a recognition game. Limiting to a few bars seems wise considering file size and bandwidth. (And user patience.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2010


I would like to hear Such Great Heights slowed down.
posted by empath at 9:18 AM on August 17, 2010


What are they going to do when his voice changes?

Put him out to the same pasture where New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, NSync minus Timberlake, Boys II Men, and LFO currently reside.
posted by blucevalo at 9:18 AM on August 17, 2010


I would very much like to play that game. I'm enjoying this tremendously.
posted by cereselle at 9:18 AM on August 17, 2010


And as a bookend, here's Sigur Ros sped up 800%.

It sounds like 16 bit video game music as played by Pokemon.

Also, can a mod fix the typo in the FPP, it's embarrassing.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:26 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I did a massive slow-down on Melt Banana's cover of classic ska song "Monkey Man." Slowed down and then pitch corrected? Sounds exactly like a third-wave ska band covering "Monkey Man."
posted by jtron at 9:32 AM on August 17, 2010


Making a nominal honor-system "game" out of it, in the form of a collection of blind excerpts as a blog post, would be trivial and I think I'll do that today. I'm not so sure I have the time to try and turn it into an actual game-game with a db backend and such, but hopefully someone will do that too. If someone here wants to slog through that bit I'd be happy to make content available.

In the mean time, here's a few other things of mine that I threw through to see what happens:

- Kazoos suddenly become ponderous
- Bomb-making in your mom's kitchen is a very slow procedure
- Steven Slater meme will now last at least 25 more minutes

But maybe more to folk's liking and, besides that, possibly the prettiest thing in my experiments so far: Matthewchen is Nodding. Has the advantage of only being about eight minutes long, too.

I'm also processing Mathowie's Community Blog because I like the idea of a single song that'll take someone through the better part of a workday.
posted by cortex at 9:32 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would like to hear Joe Satriani gliding through the Grand Canyon on a bilious cloud of ennui.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:47 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is fake. The comment on the OP links to Echoes Across the Astral Wastelands by Photon Wave Orchestra, which is what this song really is. This is not Beiber.
posted by daHIFI at 9:48 AM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thanks to cortex mentioning that I could potentially be able to get this time-stretching treat to work on Mac OS X I may be going home after work today and seeing how my favorite In Flames songs work in slow-mo.
posted by komara at 9:51 AM on August 17, 2010


Um, guys, the first comment on the Soundcloud page linked says:
"Sorry guys, you've all been had"
and links to this Bandcamp page:
http://photonwaveorchestra.bandcamp.com/
featuring a free download of the same song, but with no mention of Bieber.

Has anyone sped this song up to check that it is what it says it is? Because it's looking kinda fake to me.
posted by fontgoddess at 9:52 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


fontgoddess: See the upload date on "Echoes Across the Astral Wasteland"? I think there's a reason Bieber isn't mentioned there.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:54 AM on August 17, 2010


After experimenting with some stuff in my music collection, the absolute best thing I've found is Ke$ha's Tik Tok at 7.2x. The autotuned voice with the acappella moments gets twisted into some very beautiful and gothic moments, the ending to a long and rather tragic space opera where the valkyrie descends into a desolate and dark valley where the fallen space marines lie.

Death metal is also kinda interesting though possibly the most unchanged. Everything becomes one of those long and interminable Glen Branca symphonies and occasionally you can pick out Thurston Moore noodling away in the corner.
posted by honestcoyote at 9:55 AM on August 17, 2010


Apparently this is a fake. What a disappointment.
posted by audacity at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2010


honestcoyote: Can you upload that somewhere please? I can't stand "Tik Tok" but I'm intrigued now.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:56 AM on August 17, 2010


I don't know if this was mentioned in the blue before, but Christopher Nolan / Zimmer did a genius job in Inception by slowing down Pilaf's 'Non, je ne regrette rien' for the menacing, dark theme that comes in when the dream world starts falling apart.
posted by daHIFI at 9:59 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey, Photon Wave Orchestra is from my hometown! Guess I will have to check them out. I wonder if this is some sort of viral effort from them or if the Soundwave poster ripped off their work.
posted by desjardins at 9:59 AM on August 17, 2010


Well, all-in-all it seems like this will be a good day for Photon Wave Orchestra.

honestcoyote: I second The Winsome Parker Lewis's request to hear the altered version of "Tik Tok."
posted by fontgoddess at 10:02 AM on August 17, 2010


Maybe I wasn't clear enough earlier. My internet detective work suggests Photon Wave Orchestra is indeed the originator of this track, but it was intended as an April Fool's joke. It was uploaded on 4/1/10. I guess nobody noticed until now, and it's been misattributed. Whether or not the song stands as an original work by PWO is up for debate, but it's definitely Bieber slowed down. Not fake.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno. I haven't tried to speed it up, but there are people claiming that Photon Wave Orchestra is the one who's ripped off Bieber, not the other way around.
posted by nushustu at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2010


As a prank it's pretty silly (but I guess that's the attraction of a lot of pranking), but I'm having a hard time really caring because I'm delighted to have found PaulStretch. That the output of the processing is first-blush similar to the sound of the nicked song is more interesting than any bait-and-switch trickery.

Obvious next move is to go ahead and run Bieber through for real. And to time-shift the PWO track in the other direction.
posted by cortex at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2010


Ah, TWPL, that makes more sense yet. I misread the date as April 10 and was like, uh?
posted by cortex at 10:05 AM on August 17, 2010


More digging: Photon Wave Orchestra has only one song, "Echoes Across the Astral Wastelands." There is no band. The whole thing is a troll.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:08 AM on August 17, 2010


Man, I am really confused. So it really is a slowed-down Bieber song, but it was posted by this Photon Wave Orchestra person back in April, and only went viral now?
posted by desjardins at 10:10 AM on August 17, 2010


So it would seem. Photon Wave Orchestra doesn't seem to actually exist apart from this song. I suspect the Soundcloud uploader "Shamantis" (Nick Pittsinger) is Photon Wave Orchestra, since he implies authorship on that page: "i always do random projects like this alongside my actual music". Maybe he was disappointed that nobody caught on back in April, so he tried again now under a different name.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:16 AM on August 17, 2010


Hilarious - I was actually going to post this! I saw it this morning on Eric Whitacre's facebook profile page. Fantastic!
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:17 AM on August 17, 2010


I really like this, and like the idea of it for churning out new music.

But yeah- it is real, right? The "it's a fake" comments are part of the joke, yes? This really is the (wow, overly processed) Bieber song at 1/8th (or 1/9th) speed, right?

Cuz I'm about to feel like an idiot having posted that on my Facebook.
posted by hincandenza at 10:29 AM on August 17, 2010


I guess here's as good a place as any to post the dance remix version of someone hitting Justin Bieber with a bag of candy.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:29 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Winsome Parker Lewis, thanks for your patient research and explanation.
posted by fontgoddess at 10:29 AM on August 17, 2010


So what's the noise in the slowed down version that sounds like the surf? Are those the drums?

And ZsigE ... that was awesome. Thanks for pointing to it.
posted by crunchland at 10:32 AM on August 17, 2010


hincandenza: People are saying "fake" because it was originally uploaded as a song called "Echoes Across the Astral Wastelands" by a band called Photon Wave Orchestra. But there is no band by that name, and it was uploaded on April Fool's Day. It's been confirmed that the song is Justin Bieber slowed down, and that was the joke. Except, nobody saw it back in April, and this thing didn't go viral until today (and it's been attributed to Nick Pittsinger, aka "Shamantis"). Meanwhile, over on Reddit, user "embryon" is also claiming authorship.

fontgoddess: Nothing like a good mystery! I'm still trying to sort out the identities of Photon Wave Orchestra (Last.fm says "an ambient duo consisting of siblings Robin 'Robbie' Smith and Fred Zoidos"), Shamantis ("Nick Pittsinger"), and embryon (still unknown). I wouldn't be surprised if two or all of these are the same person, who has been trolling the web trying to go viral.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:42 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Damn, beaten to the punch to the Inception reference. But yeah, this is pretty awesome. Could use a little bass... maybe I'll throw a Growing track under there.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:45 AM on August 17, 2010


Tik Tok Coda: Ke$ha's 25 minute masterpiece, a mournful tribute to the Ultramarines who valiantly fell to the Tyranids on the Moon of Eternal Night.

(Yes, I've been reading too much Warhammer 40k pulp lately.)
posted by honestcoyote at 11:07 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've never heard this Justin Bieber guy. Everybody's talking about him, though.

Doesn't seem like a very bad song, actually. That's just a first impression, though; I've only heard thirty seconds or so thus far.
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2010


koes: This is his big hit.
posted by flatluigi at 11:32 AM on August 17, 2010


because it was originally uploaded as a song called "Echoes Across the Astral Wastelands"
They didn't, they just gave it that release date.
from Echoes Across the Astral Wastelands, track released 16 August 2010
Robbie Smith and Fred Zoidos
They took it, not the other way round. I guess the fake release date should tell its's a joke.
posted by ts;dr at 11:35 AM on August 17, 2010


Meanwhile, shamantis is saying that Photon Wave Orchestra stole his song.
posted by desjardins at 11:39 AM on August 17, 2010


I just tried this with Taylor Swift's Fearless and the results are pretty similar. Seems like it works with anything crazy overproduced.
posted by signalnine at 11:41 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brilliant, that makes sense. I feel bad for Nick Pittsinger then, getting his name dragged unfairly through the mud. I didn't realize you could forge release dates on that Bandcamp site.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:42 AM on August 17, 2010


I had to hear it for myself, so I opened it up in Audacity and sped it back up. It sounded like shit and distorted as hell, but it's definitely Bieber. The chords and the piano and rhythms were all distinguishable.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:43 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the internet. No nut is too hard to crack!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 11:51 AM on August 17, 2010


Okay, here's a couple dozen pop music clips. God help you, this process really weirds them up.
posted by cortex at 12:01 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


PercussivePaul: I had to hear it for myself, so I opened it up in Audacity and sped it back up. It sounded like shit and distorted as hell, but it's definitely Bieber. The chords and the piano and rhythms were all distinguishable.
Thanks for confirming it directly. I don't know why we haven't seen more of this- or maybe we do and don't realize it; lots of musicians will take a snippet of one piece of music, and use it as inspiration and rework it until it's almost unrecognizable.

I recall an odd series on A&E some years ago called "Not Mozart" where one episode included among other things Michael Nyman taking a one or two bar phrase from a brisk Haydn string quarter and slowing it down/stretching out the chord progression, and turning it into a funereal but kind of lovely aria sung by Ute Lemper.
posted by hincandenza at 12:07 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just contacted Shamantis directly and he confirmed that he is "embryon" on Reddit. I'm happy to say case closed. The jury's still out on who Photon Wave Orchestra is but we may never know. Just some anonymous troll.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


@le morte

There really isn't much difference between 800% and 80000%, just ask Megan McArdle.
posted by organic at 12:15 PM on August 17, 2010


the cortex quiz is fun at first, but after a while it's starting to creep the shit out of me. I need to listen to some Madness or something to get my right again.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:21 PM on August 17, 2010


Here's the slowed down song sped up again. It sounds terrible but is definitely that Bieber song.

I'm so glad it's a hoax that it's a hoax! This gives me a lot of hope; from now on I'm going to think, "Hey, if this thing I hated was slowed down or sped up, I might really like it!" I see an increase of optimism in my future.
posted by audacity at 12:58 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The percentage subthread reminded me of this nonsense from the IMDb message board. It's, well, it's better than the comments on YouTube.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:58 PM on August 17, 2010


Article on Gizmodo about the track: http://gizmodo.com/5614940/how-to-make-justin-bieber-sound-incredible-slow-him-down-800-percent
posted by audacity at 12:59 PM on August 17, 2010


Okay, here's a couple dozen pop music clips. God help you, this process really weirds them up.

I actually feel like I'm losing my mind listening to these. Although I've got some reasonably-good guesses.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:34 PM on August 17, 2010


On a related note, Dick Dale's Pulp Fiction-rejuvenated Misirlou becomes a terrifying bombing run through hell. So that's kind of fun.
posted by cortex at 1:36 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dick Dale's Pulp Fiction-rejuvenated Misirlou

This is possibly my favorite one.
posted by sparkletone at 2:06 PM on August 17, 2010


Yeah, we've been doing this with ambistep for some time already. Here's a freebie.

Oh well, I guess it's popular now, so time to invent yet another musical genre ;)
posted by First Post at 2:11 PM on August 17, 2010


And The Shirelles' Till My Baby Comes Home becomes an absolutely gorgeous Hymn From Outer Space sort of thing. Pretentious student filmmakers, I have the soundtrack for the final 30 minutes of your epic meditation on the human condition.
posted by cortex at 2:13 PM on August 17, 2010


A song by The-Dream stretched out.
posted by sparkletone at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2010


Dick Dale's Pulp Fiction-rejuvenated Misirlou

This one is actually recognizable even slowed way down.
posted by crunchland at 2:23 PM on August 17, 2010


audacity, that sounds like an Animal Collective tune. Heh.
posted by barrett caulk at 2:34 PM on August 17, 2010


What I want to know is, when will somebody try this with Through the Fire and Flames?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:36 PM on August 17, 2010


It sounded like shit and distorted as hell, but it's definitely Bieber.

Looks to me like the perp...took his time.

*puuuuuuuuuts ooooooooon suuuuuuuunglaaaaaasssseeeeesssss*

posted by ZsigE at 2:44 PM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has the flavour of the soundtrack to a Ridley Scott film.

Plus: I thought Justin Bieber's other song was slow, but this is twice as slow.
posted by Trochanter at 2:52 PM on August 17, 2010


Inexplicably, my comment earlier in this thread is now the most popular comment I have ever made on MetaFilter.

How apropos.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:19 PM on August 17, 2010


It's because people were reading the thread at a way larger font size than normal.
posted by cortex at 4:22 PM on August 17, 2010


Answering my own question, he used PaulStretch.

Well I just wasted way too much of my day playing with that...
posted by Tenuki at 4:34 PM on August 17, 2010


Some have you been asking, "what would Sigur Rós sound like sped up to eight times original speed"?

Wonder no more, for here is Bieber Rós, the Sigur Rós album ( ) in its entirety, compressed to about nine minutes.

I especially like Untitled #5 ("Álafoss") at about 3:36 as it comes out rather musical. Some more my observations in the SoundCloud running track notes. Feel free to add your own!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:38 PM on August 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Way back when, I bought a Cocteau Twins album on LP (couldn't find it on other media). That was the only LP I'd ever owned, so record players were foreign territory for me. When I first listened to it, I thought, "Wow, they finally let Robin or Simon sing." Turns out I just had it on the wrong speed.
posted by jiawen at 5:11 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


goodnewsfortheinsane, you just reinvented dancing to classical music at 78 rpm.
posted by straight at 5:41 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just stretched out "Don't Stop Believin'" by 10x. Because someone was going to, and it might as well have been me.

Verdict: Wow, can that Steve Perry hold a note or what?
posted by jscalzi at 6:13 PM on August 17, 2010


Justin Beiber is good material for this kind of processing - the autotune and glistening high production value mean that the music is very harmonically pure, with no warbles or dissonance. A lot of music would probably sound noisy and messy with the same treatment.
posted by scose at 7:02 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music is fairly interesting.
posted by Ardiril at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2010


HOLY SHIT I LOVE THIS! can we have someone just automatically do this to everything he records a new song?
posted by liza at 8:32 PM on August 17, 2010


Can't wait to gobble some mushrooms and kick back with this one.
posted by hermitosis at 9:15 PM on August 17, 2010


Can someone do a slow down for me of William Hung's She Bang?

I wanna see how good something so horribly bad can be.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 9:52 PM on August 17, 2010


a) Someone I vaguely know compiled an OS X version of Stretch, if, like me, you are too lazy to compile one yourself.

b) Someone else I vaguely know wrote an opera about Justin Timberlake & Britney Spears taking these sorts of musical taffee-pulls as inspiration. It has that same suffocating relentlessness, anyway.
posted by speicus at 10:23 PM on August 17, 2010


Yes, it was stretched. Yes, it was long. But was it good? No.

I saw the earlier references to Sigur Ros; aside from tempo, I just don't hear it. The sound was so thin and dull. If we put this song on a saline drip for a few days then gave it a turkey/avocado/mayo/sprout sandwich, it might be able to crawl to turn the sound up on something musical.
posted by sfkiddo at 10:29 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The vocal bits remind me a shoegaze a little.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:35 PM on August 17, 2010


It sounds terrible but is definitely that Bieber song.

Actually this is not bad. I like the roaring background.

For those wanting some Bieber background, New York magazine just ran an article on him: Justin Bieber Can Hear Them Scream
posted by smackfu at 5:42 AM on August 18, 2010


Is there a DL for this.. its really quite nice
posted by MrLint at 6:36 AM on August 18, 2010


Nevermind, I jacked it out of the the stream
posted by MrLint at 6:44 AM on August 18, 2010


Kinda like that Dr Who episode, with the Master. As the UK PM, Harold Saxon

octothorpe: "sonic meat machine: "Where did Justin Bieber even come from?

I went to work one day and apparently everyone suddenly knew who he was.
"

Same here. We heard a joke about him on "Wait, wait, Don't Tell Me" about three months ago and my wife and I both said at the same time, "Who's Justin Beaver?" Within a week he seemed to be everywhere.
"
posted by MrLint at 6:46 AM on August 18, 2010


METAFILTER YOU ARE SLAGGING OFF!

i can't believe am the one who has to say the obvious:

Here's the slowed down song sped up again. It sounds terrible but is definitely that Bieber song.
posted by audacity at 3:58 PM on August 17


EPONYSTERICAL!
posted by liza at 7:25 AM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


People have pretty much stopped saying that on mefi. We actually had to start deleting oneliners like that at one point, they got so out of hand. Heads up.
posted by cortex at 7:33 AM on August 18, 2010


Don't ask me how many times I've played the stretched track today. Just know that I have deadlines and no Eno on my computer (except for the Windows startup sound, of course) to soothe me. I saw a comment elsewhere that said it sounded like whales speaking with god, and that sounded about right.

This just in: the Bieb likes it, his record company won't take legal action, and Pittsinger is relieved.
posted by maudlin at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2010


I just keep running random mp3s through the thing. Stairway is oddly soothing and meditative.
posted by cortex at 2:03 PM on August 18, 2010


That 'Misirilou' is der fucking hammer.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:16 PM on August 18, 2010


Imagine how long Alice's Restaurant would be at 1/8 speed?
posted by MrLint at 5:25 PM on August 18, 2010


Just about three hours long. Warning: 242 MB file.
posted by cortex at 6:12 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


its downright gregorian.
posted by crunchland at 7:49 PM on August 18, 2010


To answer my own question above...William Hung's She Bangs at 10%.

I would make an absolutely awesome zombie computer game soundtrack. The ending is especially nice.

Please note...I have no dislike of William Hung personally. If I had his cojones I would do exactly what he did. Call this a zombie tribute.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 9:08 PM on August 18, 2010


cortex: “Heads up.”

Okay, wise guy – I see what you're doing. You just had to throw that out there to tempt me, didn't you?
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rush 0)))
posted by klangklangston at 8:33 AM on August 19, 2010


Also, for what it's worth, we're dorking out about PaulStretch some more over at Music Talk as well.
posted by cortex at 8:37 AM on August 19, 2010


Now I'm wondering if you speed up gregorian chant 800x, will it sound like Arlo Guthre?
posted by crunchland at 9:18 AM on August 19, 2010


Where did Justin Bieber even come from?

Stratford, Ontario.

Other Ontario towns to blame for musical transgressions of years past include Timmins (Shania Twain), Napanee (Avril Lavigne), Ajax (Sum 41), among many others. There is absolutely no reason to ever visit any of these places.

/comment written in Ontario hometown of K-OS and Protest the Hero, which is actually pretty cool considering what an utterly cookie-cutter suburb this place is; we could do much, much worse.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:12 AM on August 19, 2010


(100% slower = stopped. "800% slower" is nonsense.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:17 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Short, Shameful Confession: When I was a kid, I got an album of big-band jazz from the library and made a tape and listened to it quite a bit. It was smokin' hot, the trumpets were whaling way up in the stratosphere. Months later I discovered I'd taped a 33-1/3 record at 45 rpm.
posted by straight at 11:12 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


(er, the trumpets were wailing, not hunting space cetaceans)
posted by straight at 11:14 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


FROM HELL'S HEART I JAZZ AT THEE
posted by cortex at 11:20 AM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


jnrussell: "If you use something like Paulstretch, yes. It's not precisely slowing the song down, though that is the intended result. It's actually stretching the waveform out to really great lengths and then using "spectral smoothing" to smooth out the inevitable artifacts that occur with such distortion. The spectral smoothing is really the key to why this sounds so nice."

Sorry to play the pedant, but this is wrong.

It is slowing down the song. The human ear does not hear sound pressure levels musically, it hears patterns of change in sound pressure levels, AKA the frequency spectrum.

What this sort of algorithm does is analyze the spectral content (patterns of change) in the waveform. After using the waveform to build the spectral profile (estimation of frequency, phase, and amplitude of various partials at a series of sampled instants), it discards the original waveforms and uses the spectral profile to resynthesize the original material (convert it to a new waveform playable by your computer, which emphatically is not the original waveform stretched out, but a new one that lasts longer but has nearly the same spectral information). The advantage here is that the spectral information is preserved in a way the human ear finds acceptable with less bandwidth used, and is not distorted by altering playback speed (though of course the distortions caused by misestimations of the spectral tracking algorithm will be present - much like with sub-atomic particles, if you are willing to settle for one or the other it is easy to know the spectrum of a sound or the time a sound happened, but you can only get a vague estimation if you want both pieces of information for the same sound).

Variations on this technique are used in mp3 compression and autotuning.

It sounds nice because it contains natural pitched sounds (or something close to them) decaying at a slowed rate, and like any other natural pitched sounds they contain pleasing sets of overtones, which we get to really notice and follow when they move slower.
posted by idiopath at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2010


Someone slowed down "Still Alive" and created an utterly amazing masterpiece. I wish I was allowed to give this greater emphasis here than being the 168th comment in a three-day-old thread.
posted by WCityMike at 4:17 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


WCityMike: don't worry, we're all still here. It wouldn't have gotten to 168 comments if we had left. Notice the timestamps before yours aren't from three days ago.
posted by komara at 5:20 PM on August 19, 2010


According to Reddit internet detectives, Photon Wave Orchestra was a troll originating on 4chan's /mu/.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 10:30 PM on August 19, 2010


Also, reddit now has a slowdown subreddit.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 10:35 PM on August 19, 2010


Someone slowed down "Still Alive" and created an utterly amazing masterpiece. I wish I was allowed to give this greater emphasis here than being the 168th comment in a three-day-old thread.


RRRrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeecccccccccccccceeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnntttttttt aaaaaaacccccccttttttttiiiiiiiivvvvvvvvviiiiiiiiiiitttttttyyyyyyyyy,,,,,,,,, ddddddddduuuuuuuddddddddeeeeeeee
posted by Shepherd at 12:25 PM on August 20, 2010


I know that people have deliberately put backwards speech into their songs, just so that the people looking for messages from Satan will have some fun, so I'm sure it can only be a matter of time before someone puts some high speed nonsense into their songs that will only make sense after it's been Bieberized.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:23 PM on August 20, 2010


Short, Shameful Confession: When I was a kid, I got an album of big-band jazz from the library and made a tape and listened to it quite a bit. It was smokin' hot, the trumpets were whaling way up in the stratosphere. Months later I discovered I'd taped a 33-1/3 record at 45 rpm.
posted by straight Yesterday [1 favorite +]
I used to listen to all vinyl this way when I was a kid rooting through my mom and stepdad's albums. My rationale was that I could fit more music-listening in a session this way, and my brain would adjust for the pitch change.
posted by jtron at 1:37 PM on August 20, 2010


hiding pictures in your music's waveform
posted by jtron at 1:45 PM on August 20, 2010


Dick Dale's Pulp Fiction-rejuvenated Misirlou becomes a terrifying bombing run through hell.

Man, that's the best new Bauhaus song ever.
posted by The World Famous at 4:55 PM on August 20, 2010


This thread / link is my favorite thing this week.
posted by lekvar at 6:10 PM on August 20, 2010


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