Following on from a recent post I made about Justin Beiber’s song ‘U Smile’ that had been slowed down 800%, I’ve come across another dramatically slowed down soundscape. This time it’s not some Canadian teeny bopper, but one of the most famous and influential composers of all time: German classical composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven.

Ludwig van BeethovenNorwegian conceptual artist Leif Inge took Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and digitally stretched it to a staggering duration of 24 hours with no distortion or pitch shifting. The result is a deeply ambient soundscape that that wouldn’t be out of place in a film like Baraka.

The 24 hour soundscape is called ‘9 Beet Stretch’ and was originally created as an art instillation at Oslo’s NOTAM (Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics and Music) in 2002, and has since been featured as a 24 hour audio artwork around the world.

According to the New York Times, ‘9 Beet Stretch’ was inspired by the Scottish visual artist Douglas Gordon, whose “24 Hour Psycho” (1993) slowed a Hitchcock film to uncover its “unconscious.”

Personally, the thought of watching the film Psycho stretched over 24 hours sounds like torture to me, but Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony similarly stretched creates an interesting and sometimes epic soundscape.

While ‘9 Beet Stretch’ hasn’t appeared in any art galleries recently it can still be heard online. The soundscape has been playing continuously every single day online since may 7th, 2005 when it was started at sunset in Vienna, Austria, where Beethoven’s ninth symphony was first performed, on may 7th, 1824. There is now even a free ‘9 Beet Stretch’ iPhone app!

You can listen to the live 24/7 stream of ‘9 Beet Stretch’ or sample five minutes of it in the clip below.

[audio:http://www.beforeiforget.co.uk/audio/9-beet-stretch.mp3]

Live continuous broadcast of ‘9 Beet Stretch’
As heard on RadioLab’s show about ‘Time.’
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