A brand new piece of AI software has written “new” songs for Nirvana and Amy Winehouse. It comes as part of a project hoping to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and highlight the need for greater support.
Over the Bridge, the Toronto based organisation, has created a compilation of songs created by artificial intelligence. The songs have all been created in the style of musicians who have sadly become a member of the so-called “27 club”, a tragic group of artists who all lost their lives at a young age.
The songs have been sewn together as part of Drowned In The Sun – Lost Tapes of the 27 Club and will be one of the more unusual releases of the year, largely relying on computers to create the music at hand, all in an attempt to highlight the struggles behind some of our musical heroes.
“What if all these musicians that we love had mental health support?” Sean O’Connor, a director for Over The Bridge told Rolling Stone. “Somehow in the music industry, [depression] is normalised and romanticised … Their music is seen as authentic suffering.”
As well as Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana, there are also songs in the style of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors, all of which were made using Google’s AI programme Magenta, which uses the artist’s previous work to compose new music. The songs are then given another AI spin when writing lyrics.
However, they still required a good sound-a-like for each act. The frontman of Atlanta’s Nevermind: The Ultimate Tribute To Nirvana, Eric Hogan, took on the vocals for the grunge heroes. “If you look at the last quote-unquote Nirvana release, which was, ‘You Know You’re Right,’ this has the same type of vibe”.
“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.
He added: “The song is saying, ‘I’m a weirdo, but I like it,’” he says. “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.”
Listen to the “new” Nirvana song below.