Imagine Kurt Cobain was still alive – AI writes “new” Nirvana songRodney
AI writes “new” Nirvana song that sounds like Kurt Cobain
The AI program Magenta has managed to make convincing music from deceased musicians such as Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
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 “What if all these musicians that we love had mental health support? Somehow in the music industry, [depression] is normalised and romanticised … Their music is seen as authentic suffering.”
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 Atlanta’s Nevermind: The Ultimate Tribute To Nirvana.
Hogan said “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 continued “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, ‘OK, that’s kind of an ‘In Utero’ vibe right here or a ‘Nevermind’ vibe right here. … 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, ‘I’m a weirdo, but I like it,’ That is total Kurt Cobain right there. The sentiment is exactly what he would have said. ‘The sun shines on you, but I don’t know how’ — that’s great.”
The song ‘Drowned in the Sun’ focusses on a Nirvana influence, but there are three other tracks the organisation have released. ‘The Roads are Alive’, ‘Man I know’, and’ ’You’re Gonna Kill Me’ are inspired by Winehouse, Hendrix and The Doors.