If Kurt Cobain had lived, would he have written a song like this?
A couple of weeks back, I hosted an online event called The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club. Its purpose was twofold: (1) To bring attention to the issue of mental health issues among musicians, and (2) to use artificial intelligence to extrapolate what some famous-but-dead rock stars might have been able to record had they lived.
What if they had received the help they needed for their addictions and mental health problems? What if they had continued writing?
Over the Bridge is a Toronto-based non-profit whose mission is to “change the conversation about mental health and recovery in the music community.” They picked four artists who died that age 27 (Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse) and assigned Google’s Magenta AI to the task.
Thirty songs from each artist were analyzed with thousands of data points extracted: chord channels, melodies, drum patterns, lyrics, and so on. Here’s what those machines came up with for a Kurt Cobain song in 2021. Vocals come from Eric Hogan who fronts a Nirvana tribute band. This is pretty freaky.
Now let’s try some synthesized Amy Winehouse.
Realistically, these are just machine guesses about what Kurt and Amy might have done. But it does make you think, right?