Listen to a New "Nirvana" Song That Was Written by AI
Lost Tapes of the 27 Club also includes "new" tracks from Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Jim Morrison
Published Apr 05, 2021Today marks 27 years since Kurt Cobain died at the age of 27. That age puts him in the legendary "27 Club" — a group of beloved musicians who passed away at the same age. Perhaps sacrilegious but certainly timely, some "new" songs from these artists have emerged via artificial intelligence software.
The project is called "Lost Tapes of the 27 Club" and includes "new" compositions inspired by Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and the Doors' Jim Morrison. The project was created by Toronto's Over the Bridge, which is an organization focused on helping musicians who are struggling with mental illness.
The songs were created by feeding the artists' respective work into Google's AI software Magenta.The tracks were analyzed as MIDI files, then riffs for new songs were spat out.
"The more MIDI files you input, the better," Over the Bridge's Sean O'Connor told Rolling Stone. "So we took 20 to 30 songs from each of our artists as MIDI files and broke them down to just the hook, solo, vocal melody or rhythm guitar and put those through one at a time. If you put whole songs through, [the program] starts to get really confused on what [it's] supposed to sound like. But if you just have a bunch of riffs, it'll put out about five minutes of new AI-written riffs, 90 percent of which is really bad and unlistenable. So you start listening through and just finding little moments that are interesting."
The lyrics were written in a similar fashion, adding pages and pages of previous lyrics to a generic AI program and piecing together the output. The compositions were then recorded at an audio house, with musicians from real-life tribute acts paying homage to their heroes in song.
The results are baffling and yet strangely enjoyable. Listen to songs inspired by Nirvana ("Drowned in the Sun"), Amy Winehouse ("Man, I Know"), the Doors ("The Roads Are Alive") and Jimi Hendrix ("You're Gonna Kill Me") below.