Drone Adventures in PaulStretch – Music for Airports Reconstructed

OpenCulture recently posted a feature on a SlowMotionRadio’s stretched and slowed interpretation of Brian Eno’s seminal ambient album, Music for Airports transforming it into a 6-hour meditative drone. But as the track was a YouTube link, it was pretty much useless if the listener wanted to be able to do anything on their device during the 6-hours of playback. Ripping audio from YouTube results in low-bitrate audio so I reconstructed the 6-hour drone myself in Audacity. I figured if I was going to reproduce it from scratch I may as well use the highest quality source so I opted for the lossless DSD 2004/2009 remastered edition by Simon Heyworth of Super Audio Mastering of the original 1978 album and stretched it to the same target duration of the 6-hour video.

The result was vastly different from the YouTube version, due to both the lossless quality and my opting for the remastered source. The attack and decay of each note are vastly more dynamic and nuanced whereas the low-bitrate YouTube video is more of an auditory haze. Perhaps some will prefer it that way, but I was keen to try my hand at the task and am pleased with the results.

I’ve exported it as both archival FLAC and as a high-bitrate 320CBR MP3.

Here’s the YouTube version which inspired the project tonight.

Flaming Lips Collection

After hearing 7 Skies H3 (the 24 hour Song Skull) and a number of other Lips’ releases that I’ve neglected for far too long I decided to track down the colored vinyl editions of all my favorite Flaming Lips albums.

I already had a sealed copy of the limited edition 180g 2LP + bonus CD pressing of The Soft Bulletin for starters.  This album is a sonic masterpiece from start to finish.  Once the new pre-amp and interconnects arrive I just might take off the shrink and give it a spin.

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The next disc I picked up was the red vinyl pressing of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.  The beautiful artwork is a perfect match for the record – it sounds just like it looks.

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So last weekend I went digging through the Discogs database and found limited ed. colored vinyl pressings of At War With the Mystics and Embryonic.  One was a UK issue and the other a US pressing.  I spent a few days tracking down the best-priced copies I could find and then jumped on them.

Here’s Mystics…

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And I learned that the original colored issue of Embryonic had two mistakes: The first song on side D (Scorpio Sword) was accidentally placed at the end of side C and while disc 1 was pressed in blue vinyl the second LP was accidentally pressed on black.

As a result, Warner Bros. sold 100 copies at the album release show and destroyed the rest.

This second run corrected both mistakes.  Here’s Embryonic pressed in translucent colored vinyl.

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I really enjoyed everything from the Soft Bulletin forward, including their experimental works such as Zarieeka (four CDs which are intended to be played simultaneously), Two Blobs Fucking (a dozen youtube videos also written to be played at once), the 1996 Parking Lot Experiment, and the aforementioned 24 Hour Song Skull.

Now I’m curious about their early work.  Their first six LPs were full of outrageous song titles such as “One Million Billionth Of A Millisecond On A Sunday Morning,” “Jesus Shooting Heroin,” “The Spontaneous Combustion Of John” and many others.

I have digital copies of their extended discography so in the coming week I’ll be taking in their releases from 1986-1997.  I may end up with a colorful collection of all their re-issues by the time I’m done.  But with album art like this…

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…how can I resist?