On the 27th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, a “new” Nirvana song has surfaced. But it’s not written by Cobain, it’s written by AI software.
The newly launched Lost Tapes of the 27 Club project uses AI software to make songs in the style of musicians who died at the age of 27. One of the tracks called “Drowned in the Sun” is written in the style of Nirvana. Though at times it sounds more like an Alice in Chains song, it has some striking similarities to Nirvana.
Listen to it below.
Rolling Stone explains that the team used Google’s AI program Magenta to analyze the band’s music to create the instrumental track. An artificial neural network was then used to generate the lyrics, while Eric Hogan, frontman of an Atlanta tribute band, recorded the vocals. Magenta was fed up to 30 of each artists’ songs as MIDI files. The program then translated the “pitch and rhythm into a digital code that can be fed through a synthesizer to recreate a song.” New compositions were made by “examining each artist’s note choices, rhythmic quirks, and preferences for harmony in the MIDI file.”
Lost Tapes of the 27 Club comes from Over the Bridge, a Toronto organization that helps those in the music industry struggling with mental illness. Along with raising awareness about mental health, the organization hopes the project shows how much work goes into creating AI music. “There’s an inordinate amount of human hands at the beginning, middle and end to create something like this,” explained Michael Scriven, a rep for Lemmon Entertainment whose CEO is on Over the Bridge’s board of directors.
Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison’s The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix also received the AI treatment.