Being born in the wrong generation is a trope of the angsty young person who the world just doesn’t get, man. That being said, some of the greatest music of all time was created by artists who are no longer with us. The power of the internet allows us to relive and reimage what it would have been like to have been at the first ever performances of some of the worlds greatest.
It can’t, however, give us the songs those artists would have made if they had been alive today. Until now.
When Michael Jackson was purportedly re-animated at the Billboard Music Awards in 2014, it raised a lot of questions around the power of technology to replicate the past achievements of artists and the ethics of doing so. The same technology was used to allow Snoop Dogg to perform along side his departed friend, Tupac Shakur, at Coachella.
Now AI has been trained to replicate not only the performance of a musician, but to create new music in their signature style too. The results of using AI to create new music have been somewhat questionable to date, but these new songs are actually surprisingly good.
Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain has been captured in a new song ‘Drowned in The Sun’, while Jim Morrison of The Doors, Amy Winehouse, and Jimi Hendrix have all been replicated with new music too.
The songs come in the form of a four-track EP called The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club. The name is taken from the mythologised “club” of famous musicians that have all tragically passed away at the age of 27.
Check out the below track in the style of Nirvana and tell us you can’t imagine this could be some long lost demo from the band.
Here too is Amy Winehouse, who sadly passed away a decade ago, reanimated as though she’s still with us today.
The AI used here was trained on “isolated hooks, rhythms, melodies, and lyrics of 27 Club musicians,” reports the project’s website. The algorithm “learned from the music, then generated a string of all-new hooks, rhythms, melodies, and lyrics.” The Ai generated components were then passed onto an audio engineer who enlisted the help of human musicians to sing the lyrics. That’s why they sound so accurate.
Over The Bridge
There’s a theory that we mourn not the artist themselves when they pass away, but the art that they created, the drug that we can’t get the same high from any longer. It’s why there is so much interest and hype around creating new music in the style of deceased musicians, since nothing sounds exactly like the work they created that we know, love, and can no longer hear.
While technology might allow us to do so in a somewhat realistic fashion, we know that we’ll never again be able to access the true core of the creative genius that has left us.
It’s the same point that’s being made here with this project. The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club has been created by the non-profit organisation Over The Bridge that brings awareness to mental health in music.
The point of creating these songs is not some morbid fascination to cash in on the artistry of departed musicians but to raise crucial awareness that were it not for the mental health struggles these creatives were suffering from, they may very well still be with us today, creating music like the songs on this record.
Over The Bridge makes the point that mental health struggles in artists and musicians have been romanticised by concepts like the 27 Club which is not something to aspire to.
“As long as there’s been popular music,” the website states, “musicians and crews have struggled with mental health at a rate far exceeding the general adult population.”
According to them, 71% of musicians have experienced anxiety and panic attacks while 68% of have experienced depression. Suicide attempts in the music industry are made at more than double the rate of the general population.
With the record, Over The Bridge hopes to bring awareness to the struggles in the music industry and help artists get the support they need to continue making the music we love. As they say, “even AI will never replace the real thing.”