A project by Over the Bridge called Lost Tapes of the 27 Club was able to create a song that bears the most notable characteristics of Nirvana’s music, reported Billboard. The technology used a system that analyzed the sound of existing music from the band.
Based in Toronto, the organization seeks to raise mental health awareness, especially those permeating the music industry. For its Nirvana experiment, the outcome is a song called Drowned in the Sun, which is described as featuring Cobain’s guitar and songwriting skills.
Lead singer Eric Hogan, who recorded the vocals for the “ultimate tribute band” said, “Drowned in the Sun is accurate enough to give you that Nirvana vibe, but not so accurate to where someone’s going to get a cease-and-desist letter.”
He explained, “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.”
According to Hogan, Drowned in the Sun has the same characteristics as You Know You’re Right and songs from In Utero.
To create the song, Over the Bridge used Google’s Magenta, an AI program used to analyze musical compositions to create new hooks, rhythms, and melodies. This was what created the backing instrumental, explained Sean O’Connor, a board member of the organization.
However, O’Connor explained that the use of the program posed a challenge. He said, “You tended to get a wall of sound. There’s less of an identifiable common thread throughout all their songs to give you this big chunk of catalog that the machine could just learn from and create something new.”
As for the lyrics, the organization used an artificial neural network to analyze the lyrics of Nirvana songs, then created lyrics based on its findings. Finally, the vocals were added with Hogan’s help.
This is not the first time that artificial neural networks were used to create content similar to humans’ work. The GPT-3 by OpenAI and Nikolay Ironov were able to create such outputs in the past, as per Singularity Hub.
Aside from Nirvana, Lost Tapes of the 27 Club is also looking into creating music similar to those released by remarkable musicians who died when they were 27 years old, hence the project name. Some of these artists include Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse.