PaulStretch: An Interview with Paul Nasca

Paul Nasca is the creator of  superstar timestretch tool, PaulStretch, which stretches audio up to a billion times its original length.
The Internet was abuzz last week with a PaulStretch version of pop puppet Justin Bieber’s song, ‘U Smile’. Musician Nick Pittsinger cheekily stretched the original 3:21 song into a 35 minute ambient monster, which has now had 1.8 million plays in just one week, and so casting PaulStretch and Paul Nasca into the limelight. On Monday we posted our own 38 minute PaulStretch version of ‘Microscopic’, originally a 9 minute track.

J. BIEBZ – U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

We spoke to Paul, who lives in Romania, about the rapid rise to fame of his free open-source PaulStretch tool, why he wrote it, how it performs its magic and he also shares a few tips for any musicians using it.

MAT JARVIS: How long have you been programming, what makes you create audio software and do you have any other software available?

PAUL NASCA: I am in programming since 1992 but I do audio software since 1996. My first software was a non-realtime software synthesizer “Paul’s Sound Designer” a DOS program which lets you synthesize sounds by adding many waveforms.

Since 2002 I am working on open-source realtime software: ZynAddSubFX which has many sound synthesis methods and effects (including a new sound synthesis algorithm designed by me: PADsynth ). ZynAddSubFX is included in many Linux distributions (or at least in default repositories) and (I believe) it is much more used than PaulStretch.

Also, I wrote some minor audio software (like Hypermmamut, unfinished software which converts audio to images and vice-versa) and I contributed to other open source projects (e.g: I wrote a few effects for Audacity).
Another open source project written by me, but unrelated to audio, is some software which enhances pictures: zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/other/tonemapping, and here are some videos processed with it: vimeo.com/user1194931/videos.

Regarding on what makes me create audio software is that I like to make beautiful sounds and I try to experiment a lot with audio. Some audio software (or part of them) was created because different reasons (more personal ;-) (MJ: intriguing! ) .

Gas – Microscopic 600 (edit) by microscopics
Free downloadfor a limited time (89mb)

MAT: Do you make these audio tools to help with your own music making or for others?

PAUL: It depends: Paulstretchwas made for myself, but after hearing the results I decided to share it. On the other hand, ZynAddSubFX and the PADsynth algorithm was made with sharing in mind.

MJ: What was the original inspiration, why did you decide to create such an extreme timestretch program? Continue reading PaulStretch: An Interview with Paul Nasca

Gas – Microscopic 600 (paulstretch)

Gas 0095Here is our track Gas – Microscopic stretched by 600% into 38 minutes of ambience. After the fun last week on Gawker, stretching pop tracks into ambient monsters, we thought we’d join in.

The original before editing is just over one hour long. The world’s longest single is 43 minutes, so perhaps we should have uploaded the original.
On the maximum hyperStretch setting the track comes to a rather lengthy 18822 years for a full performance, with a bpm approaching negative numbers.

Close the curtains and turn off the lights.
Gas – Microscopic 600 (edit) by microscopics
Free download for a limited time (89mb)

And compared to the 9 minute original.Gas – Microscopic by microscopics
Free download (9mb)

UPDATE: read our interview with PaulStretch creator Paul Nasca