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Super-Stretched Songs Produce Cosmic Results

Back in August, a recording of Justin Bieber's "U Smile" went mega-viral on YouTube, earning over 1 million hits.

But it wasn't the original song — it was a version slowed down by more than 800 times its original speed.

The slow version sounds cosmic and ethereal. Last week, a similar recording went viral, this time a stretched version of the theme from the movie Jurassic Park. Listeners compared it to the early work of Brian Eno.

As it turns out, almost any song slowed down to the extreme seems cosmic, from Train's "Hey, Soul Sister," to Eiffel 65's "Blue."

Aaron Ximm, a sound artist from San Francisco, tells Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz it's because slower music forces our brains to "downshift" to a slower listening plane. "You realize you don't have to be in a hurry — you can stay here for a while and take a look around with your ears," he says.

Ximm hosted a listening event in San Francisco last year for one of the more popular examples of hyper-stretched music, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. A Norwegian artist stretched it to last an entire day and called it, "9 Beet Stretch."

"It was kind of mind-altering in a way," Ximm says. "At a certain point, I was aware of living in this slow or almost honey-like time."

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