What is Paulstretch?

Paulstretch is a program for stretching audio by extreme amounts, to make a 3 minute song 1 hour long (or more or less).

Sample of Paulstretch

In the above example, I recorded myself saying “Hello” and you hear it played back 3 times with different stretch factors. The first hello is the original sample, a 1x stretch factor. The second hello is 2x and the third is 50x.

Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch Interface. Looks like it's from the 1990's.
Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch Interface

Using this stretching technique, musical notes can be held for an extremely long time, without producing unpleasant audio glitches. That said, when stretching music, results range from beautiful to creepy and even painful. For instance, stretching an electronic song with a big bass heavy drop, can yield some interesting results.

Flume Stretched

In the above example, the song “Say It feat. Tove Lo” by Flume, is stretched 60x at the start of the first chorus. The first thing I notice is the vocals, with a lot of high pitched static. The vocals are singing “say it” while a clap sample is layered with the start of a big synth chord, but the stretching completely changes the recognizability of these elements. With this technique, unique and evolving ambient synth sounds become quite easy to create.

Using Paulstretch in The Dreaming City

The last few Hous3 albums include samples generated with paulstretch and The Dreaming City was no exception. The easiest to hear an example is in the song “Play Me”, as the whole song was created around this technique.

Hous3 – “Play Me”

The background “synth” that plays throughout the track is all Paulstretched audio. Layers of reversed instruments and string section enhances the sound to not be too much of a blur. When parts of the song are stretched with vocal samples, the moving dynamics of the final sample feels full of depth and complexity, when in fact it is a simple stretching of a short soundbite.

Get stretching

Thanks for reading. If you want to hear more Paulstretched music, check out the song “Future Night Club” on Spotify. Or see if you can spot some less noticeable samples throughout The Dreaming City album. And if you have any music featuring Paulstretch, please let me know!

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