Artificial intelligence has created a song, “Drowned in the Sun,” in the likeness of Nirvana tracks. The new music sounds uncannily like the band, complete with angsty lyrics such as “I don’t care/I feel as one, drowned in the sun.”
Other than vocals sung by Nirvana tribute band frontman Eric Hogan, the song is performed by machine. It begins with a grungy and catchy riff reminiscent in effect to the beginning of “Come As You Are” off of Nirvana’s Nevermind, and is similar in intensity. The energy builds throughout the song, heavily laden with dense guitar chords in typical Nirvana style, which a suddenly drops off into a more mellow repetition of the phrase “drowned in the sun” to end the piece. The AI program analyzes the idiosyncrasies of the players in the original music to create the new songs, and this is evident in the track, which has a significantly similar feel to Nirvana recording.
The song is part of a project by Over the Bridge, whose mission is to assist people in the music industry who struggle with mental illness, and through their project Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, they used Google’s Magenta AI program to write songs “by” artists who died at the age of 27. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse all received “new” songs throughout the project in addition to Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.
To create the track, 20-30 songs are loaded into the AI system, which analyzes the track, one instrument at a time, and then produces its own melodies. The process is not as simple as it first appears, and though it is easy to say the AI wrote the song, a human element is required throughout the process to select lyrics and musical phrases that sound cohesive to construct the songs.
The surviving Nirvana members recently mentioned that they still get together and play as Nirvana when they find themselves close to each other and have actually recorded some music.
Dave Grohl released an album recently with Foo Fighters; the band’s album Medicine at Midnight came out on February 5. Foo Fighters were nominated earlier this year to be part of the 2021 inductees of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.