When you think Metallica, the words ‘ambient’, ‘immersive’ and ‘hypnotic’ don’t normally spring to mind. So kudos to Soundcloud user Inaudible Whisper for finding a way to turn the band’s best-known ballad into a thing of eerie, Sigur Ros-like beauty. He/she used sound editing software to radically stretch the soundwaves. The results are wooshy, plangent, and weirdly moving. No wonder it’s been streamed 146,000 times to date. You might not have time to listen to the full 51 minutes, but see how far you get.
Truth is, you can make most tracks sound like this, if you know how to use this app. Hence, the whole ‘songs slowed down 800%’ thing has become a bit of a meme in its own right. Here’s Miley Ray Cyrus’ Party In The USA’:
Here’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’:
The technology has mostly been used for tongue-in-cheek/ironic purposes, but there is something interesting going on here – it suggests that time perception is more malleable than we usually suppose. Just as an upbeat song has the power to energise, an extremely long-held note can induce a hypnotic state, almost as if your brain activity is slowing down in sync with the music.
It reminds me of an episode of Radiolab that described an extreme sound experiment. 9 Beet Stretch was a live concert during which Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was stretched to last an entire 24 hours. Audience members who managed to stick it out reported some extraordinary physiological effects – hallucinations, out-of-body-experiences, a sense of time losing all meaning.
I can think of better ways to spend a day tbh, but still – interesting stuff, no?