Stretching Pop Into An Ambient Epic

It’s not often that a 35-minute ambient music track goes viral, but last month this is precisely what happened when Shamantis uploaded a Justin Bieber song – slowed down 800%. The resulting whooshy soundscape has now generated over two million plays on Soundcloud…

Moving The Time Domain

The idea of transforming a standard bubblegum three-minute-pop-song into something in a genre diametrically opposite to the original simply by slowing it down has obviously caught the public imagination.

So before we go any further, here is the time-stretched version, which admittedly does sound like an early Sigur Ros soundtrack:

J. BIEBZ – U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

And for reference, the original pop song by Justin Bieber – see if you can spot the difference:

The Joy Of Stretching

Whilst many people find the time-stretched version infinitely more palatable than the original, using an overproduced pop track as source material certainly benefits the ambient version in terms of its resultant sound quality.

Extreme timestretching generally creates artefacts that would be very unwelcome in an ambient work, but Shamantis used an interesting piece of (shareware) software called Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch which cut out many of these issues to create something that retains much of the quality of the original audio.

This software was designed specifically to develop sonic textures through longer-than-usual temporal extension of audio material. The program applies what Paul calls ‘spectral smoothing’ to avoid the fragmentation and signal breakup typically associated with radical timestretching, and the results are quite impressive. As a free program, it is certainly a worthy addition to a sound designer’s arsenal, and could be used as a source of inspiration as well as samples… not to mention its ability to render production line chart submissions into a more listenable format.

Of course, another point worth noting is the fact that Shamantis (previously a relatively unknown artist) has generated a massive amount of publicity for himself on the back of this seemingly innocuous experiment. It’s very hard to deliberately engineer this sort of success, but let’s hope that he can make the most of it…!


Home | Canabrism | Guides | All Music Technology Posts | XML Sitemap