- 06 Apr 21
The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club project also created tracks in the style of Amy Winehouse, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix.
The recently launched Lost Tapes of the 27 Club project uses special software to create songs in the style of musicians who died at the age of 27.
One of the featured tracks, 'Drowned in the Sun', replicated with astonishing precision a Nirvana song written by Kurt Cobain himself.
Tthe track is reminiscent of Nirvana’s trademark hit 'Come as You Are', with strikingly similar lyrics to the frontman's usual style of brutal honesty.
Google’s AI program Magenta was used to analyse the pioneering grunge band’s music and create the instrumental track, after which an artificial neural network was used to generate the lyrics. The vocals were recorded by Eric Hogan, frontman of an Atlanta Nirvana tribute band.
Magenta was fed up to 30 of each artists’ songs as MIDI files, later translating the “pitch and rhythm into a digital code that can be fed through a synthesiser to recreate a song.” New compositions were made by “examining each artist’s note choices, rhythmic quirks, and preferences for harmony in the MIDI file.”
Lost Tapes of the 27 Club is the work of Over the Bridge, a Toronto organisation which aids artists within the music industry struggling with mental illness.
Sean O’Connor, who is on the board of directors, elaborated on the process of using Magenta:
“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.”
Over the Bridge hoped to illustrate the sheer amount of work which goes into curating AI music.
“There’s an inordinate amount of human hands at the beginning, middle and end to create something like this,” explained Michael Scriven, a rep for Lemmon Entertainment.
Scriven added, “A lot of people may think AI is going to replace musicians at some point, but at this point, the number of humans that are required just to get to a point where a song is listenable is actually quite significant.”
Check out 'Drowned in the Sun' below.