Over the Bridge, a nonprofit organization aiming to change the conversation about mental health in the music community, used AI to make four new songs in the style of musicians who died at the age of 27: Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison of The Doors.
Lost Tapes of the 27 Club is an initiative in which AI was tasked to create something new out of something old. Each track is the result of AI programs analyzing 20-30 songs by each artist and granularly studying the tracks’ vocal melodies, chord changes, guitar riffs and solos, drum patterns, and lyrics. Using the data, the AI guesses what new compositions by the artists would sound like.
Sean O'Connor, who is on the board of directors for Over The Bridge, explained that the team inserted parts of songs into the AI program rather than full songs. "If you put whole songs through, (the program) starts to get really confused on what (it’s) supposed to sound like," he said. "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.”
As for song lyrics, Over the Bridge used lyrics from existing songs and ran them through an artificial neural network. The new lyrics were then assembled by an audio engineer into a final form. Vocals were recorded by singers from tribute bands.
The four new songs are "The Roads Are Alive" done in the style of The Doors, "You're Gonna Kill Me" in the style of Jimi Hendrix, "Man, I Know" in the style of Amy Winehouse, and "Drowned in the Sun" - a Nirvana-esque song with vocals so similar to Kurt Cobain's, the track is eerie to listen to.
Over the Bridge's intention was not to replace the work of the four beloved artists. Rather, their goal was to show the world what's been lost. "Through this album, we’re encouraging more music industry insiders to get the mental health support they need, so they can continue making the music we all love for years to come. Because even AI will never replace the real thing," Over the Bridge said in a statment.
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