AI writes "new" Nirvana song that sounds like Kurt Cobain
The work was made by Toronto Organisation - Over The Bridge, they have a compilation of "new" songs from musicians who died at 27. The compilation is called "Drowned In The Sun - Lost Tapes of The 27 Club" It will be used to raise awareness about depression and other mental health issues.
Sean O'Connor from Over The Bridge spoke to Rolling Stone â€œWhat if all these musicians that we love had mental health support? Somehow in the music industry, [depression] is normalised and romanticised â€¦ Their music is seen as authentic suffering.â€
The songs that feature on the compilation are made with the AI Program Magenta. It analyses previous work from the artist in order to learn how to compose a song like them. The program studies the notes and harmonies and works on replicating them.
The program had a bit of difficulty analysing Kurt Cobain's free and aggressive style of playing guitar. When it was fist tried the program outputted a cacophony of distortion, instead of outputting Cobain's signature melodies.
Eric Hogan provides the Kurt Cobain style vocals
The program isn't completely AI, the vocals are not from a machine but are done by Eric Hogan. Eric is the frontman to a Nirvana tribute band called Atlantaâ€™s Nevermind: The Ultimate Tribute To Nirvana.
Hogan said â€œIf you look at the last quote-unquote Nirvana release, which was, â€˜You Know Youâ€™re Right,â€™ this has the same type of vibe,â€
He continued â€œKurt 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 [â€˜Drowned in the Sunâ€™] like, â€˜OK, thatâ€™s kind of an â€˜In Uteroâ€™ vibe right here or a â€˜Nevermindâ€™ vibe right here. â€¦ I really understood the AI of it."
Although the singing is done by a human, the lyrics are written by AI. Hogan explains "The song is saying, â€˜Iâ€™m a weirdo, but I like it,â€™ That is total Kurt Cobain right there. The sentiment is exactly what he would have said. â€˜The sun shines on you, but I donâ€™t know howâ€™ â€” thatâ€™s great.â€
The song â€˜Drowned in the Sunâ€™ focusses on a Nirvana influence, but there are three other tracks the organisation have released. 'The Roads are Alive', â€˜Man I knowâ€™, andâ€™ â€™Youâ€™re Gonna Kill Meâ€™ are inspired by Winehouse, Hendrix and The Doors.