Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bacon for the Ears

What bacon is for food, stretching is for electronic music.  It can make anything sound better. Here's a prime example, made with Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch.  

Slowing things down, widening the perceptual frame, was one of the initial impulses in the minimal side of the radical music.  La Monte Young's goal was to be able to "get inside the sound", to bring out all of the detail and complexity of acoustic events which on first impression may appear to  be simple, minimal.  (The ability to slow down music without altering pitch was also one of Steve Reich's initial concerns; not satisfied with the technical possibilities in the analog electronic studio of his day, this kind of process was eventually realized by real live players in Reich's Four Organs.) 

Now that stretching has become so ubiquitous, has it already achieved the status of a cliché?  In film music, I suspect that this is already the case. Fortunately, in experimental music, there are no clichés, just resources worth reconsidering.

(Excuse the sparse posting here.  My recovery is taking longer than I expected.)


3 comments:

Paul Beaudoin said...

Sorry to hear that your recovery is taking longer than you expected - which struck me ironic given this post. Seems this Beiberstretch has gone viral but even more fascinating to me is the number of people willing to listen to the whole thing. I remember thinking that a 30 min. piece wouldn't stand a chance in today's fast paced world - but, it seems that with enough "curiosity factor" we can sell the idea just fine enough.

No one has mentioned the Beetstretch done a few years back (Beethoven's 9th stretched out to last 24 hours) ... and the music of Plunderphonics guru John Oswald - but still this is kind of neat and glad to know it's in the mainstream ear.

Paul said...

Been using Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch for about 8 or 9 months and find it a useful way to create ambient pieces. Have made several from simple scales and chords.

One example here: http://paulhmuller.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/scalethreeb.mp3

Unlike some sound processing software, Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch is easy to learn and use.

Works for me!

Ben.H said...

Whoo! Free software is bacon for composers, and I confess I have also been figuring out different ways of using various stretching techniques lately.

This reminds me: back in the 80s the local indie radio station used to play obnoxious syth-pop hits of the day at the wrong speed, slowing them down to passable funk jams or speeding them up to angry punk thrash.

Wishing you an accelerated recovery.