A Canadian organisation has used artificial intelligence to create a new Nirvana song – and it’s unnervingly realistic.
Over the Bridge, based in Toronto, is a nonprofit dedicated to ‘change the conversation about mental health and recovery in the music community.’
Its latest project, titled Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, is focused on honouring a number of musicians who died at the age of 27 – such as Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain – by using mainly machines to estimate what new music from them would sound like.
With the exception of the vocals, which were performed by Nirvana tribute band frontman Eric Hogan, Drowned in the Sun is the result of Google’s Magenta AI program ‘analysing up to 30 songs by each artist and granularly studying the tracks’ vocal melodies, chord changes, guitar riffs and solos, drum patterns and lyrics,’ as reported by Rolling Stone.
Sean O’Connor, on the board of directors for Over the Bridge, told the publication: ‘What if all these musicians that we love had mental health support? Somehow in the music industry, [depression] is normalized and romanticised… their music is seen as authentic suffering.’
Hogan also explained: ‘Drowned in the Sun is accurate enough to give you that [Nirvana] vibe, but not so accurate to where someone’s going to get a cease-and-desist letter. If you look at the last quote-unquote Nirvana release, which was You Know You’re Right, this has the same type of vibe.’
He added: ‘Kurt would just sort of write whatever the hell he felt like writing. And if he liked it, then that was a Nirvana song. I can hear certain things in the arrangement of [Drowned in the Sun] like… okay, that’s kind of an In Utero vibe right here or a Nevermind vibe right here… I really understood the A.I. of it.’
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