Music

LISTEN: AI Creates 'New' Nirvana Song and It's Creepily Accurate

Would Kurt Cobain have approved?
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Kurt Cobain may have died 27 years ago, but his memory and music will live on forever. But, as in the case of many others who passed on to that great big rock concert in the sky way too early, fans have often wondered how he and his music would have evolved over time. 

Thanks to artificial intelligence, we just got a glimpse of exactly how that would go.

“Drowned in the Sun” is a song engineered and produced by Over the Bridge, a Canadian organization that works with people in the music industry who struggle with mental health issues. In an article in Rolling Stone, Over the Bridge shared how it used AI to approximate the departed artist’s songwriting to let us imagine what they would sound like today.

Nearly every aspect of “Drowned in the Sun”—from the lyrics and instrumentation to the arrangement— is done using an AI program called Magenta. The only exception is the vocals, which is provided by Nirvana tribute band vocalist Eric Hogan.

Listening to the song, any Nirvana fan can instantly recognize the intense guitar work and the punchy, frenetic drumming. Even the lyrics sound like something Cobain could have written: “The sun shines on you but I don’t know how.”

“Drowned in the Sun” is a part of a project called the Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, which features songs by Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse. Along with Cobain, all of these artists famously died at the age of 27. Over the Bridge says the intention is not to disrespect the artists but to raise awareness about mental illness and encourage artists and musicians dealing with depression to get the help that they need.

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You can listen to the other songs in the Lost Tapes of the 27 Club on their YouTube channel.

 

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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