The other day, the internet went crazy over Justin Bieber's anthem "U Smile" slowed down 800 percent. But we slowed down the theme tunes from Doctor Who, Star Trek and other classics, and we discovered they sound just as cool.
We ran some of science fiction's most iconic theme tunes through Paulstretch, the same program that Nick Pittsinger used on Bieber's tune. And the results were pretty amazing.
Actually, listening to the slowed-down versions of these science fiction theme tunes, they actually sound a little scary. The ostinatos are more ominous. The slow chords hang in the air like wraiths. The one which sounds coolest, to my ears, is the Babylon 5 theme, which is just majestic and echoes through your mind with the thought of our last, best hope for peace. But the Doctor Who theme sounds like alien monks chanting their slow Gregorian observations — plus you can totally hear how Delia Derbyshire made one of the earliest pieces of electronic music by pasting together bits of tape by hand. In the Knight Rider theme, meanwhile, the electronic drums sound like tidal waves rolling slowly over the landscape of the synthesizer hooks.
The overall effect of these slowed-down classics is one of spookiness — but they might also recharge your "sense of wonder." Check it out.