Time Stretch / 800% Slower

Time Stretch / 800% Slower

Updated May 11, 2016 at 05:26PM EDT by Brad.

Added Aug 19, 2010 at 07:40PM EDT by Chan.

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800% Slower, also known as "time stretch", refers to an audio editing technique known as "timescale-pitch modification"[4] that is used to drastically decrease the speed at which a song is played.


On August 16th, 2010, Florida based musician and producer Nick Pittsinger a posted a link to the /r/music subreddit[1] that contained a version of Justin Bieber's "U Smile" that had been slowed down 800%. Although the original SoundCloud link has now been taken down, dozens of copy-cat examples can still be found on YouTube.


On August 18th, NPR[3] published a blog post about the Bieber track and interviewed Paul Nasca, the creator of the "PaulStretch"[7] software used to create it.

"The idea of it is pretty simple. I take a small chunk (usually around 100 milliseconds) of the audio file from the start position, and I smear it: first I analyze a sound’s frequencies, and then randomize a part of the sounds characteristics and rebuild the chunk. I repeat the same process for another chunk of the audio file, and so on."

The same day, Gizmodo published an article titled "How To Make Justin Bieber Sound Incredible".[12] On August 20th, CleverTV uploaded a video reporting on the track:

On Soundcloud

The ghostly reinterpretation (which has an epic, ambient-house feel) spread instantly across the internet, thanks to the fact it stands in stark contrast from the sugar-coated-pop original. A user on soundcloud by the name of PsychicWhoosh stated:

"This thing is having a profound impact on my view of the universe at the moment, that here, hidden in this crappy, commercial pop song is a piece of music so transcendent in its cosmic beauty, it is moving me to heights of spiritual ecstasy. It was there all along, like a cipher hiding in plain sight which no one knew needed decoding. It simply needed to be tuned to the right frequency, to be tracked along the proper coordinates of time. A secret is being revealed here – Everything that exists, and the entire sum of its infinite permutations, swirls in a blinding cloud of energy so radiantly exquisite, your soul would simply burst if confronted by the singularity."

Photon Wave Orchestra Hoax

A hoax band called the "Photon Wave Orchestra"[5], which Pittsinger claims was initiated on 4chan, claimed the song was not Justin Bieber slowed-down 800%, but a track they had created called "Echoes Across The Across The Astral Wasteland." This was later de-bunked by Pittsinger who uploaded a series of screenshots to Imgur[14] to prove his innocence.

On Reddit

By January 2011, the trend of slowing music down had become so popular a Reddit user called GrandDPurple launched /R/SloMusic.

A sub-reddit forum for slowing music down (hopefully not slowed down to a ridiculously slow speed). Looking for people who want to hear slower music or do it themselves. I can give you programs and step by step instructions to do it if interested (reddit.com) – GrandDPurple

Bear In Heaven Album

On December 17th, 2011, NPR[15] reported that the Brooklyn-based rock band Bear in Heaven released their album several months in a stream on their website slowed 400,000%.

Bear In Heaven is streaming its second album, I Love You, It's Cool, on its website, but stretching the music out so much -- the version on the website is 400,000% longer -- that it will play only one complete time between now and its official release on April 3. That means you could play the album through 4,000 times back to back at its normal speed in the time it'll take the band's website to make it through I Love You, It's Cool just once.

The story was subsequently published by The Huffington Post[16], Pitchfork[17] and Paste Magazine.[18]

Notable Examples


Inception Theme

YouTuber posted the below video which explains how Hans Zimmer, the oscar-winning composer, had slowed down Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" when composing the score for Christopher Nolan's Inception.


Speeds have been slowed down in YouTube Poop and MAD videos for a number of years. Videos featuring young children have often been the subject of this technique, presumably due to how dramatically it lowers the pitch of their voice.

Search Interest

Search queries for "800% slower" peaked in August of 2010, the same month Pittsinger submitted the track to Reddit.

External References

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