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Talented android
Credit: Courtesy of Possessed Photography and Unsplash

A robot wrote a Nirvana song. Does it smell like droid spirit?

A song that sounds a whole lot like a Nirvana track hit the internet decades after Kurt Cobain's death.

It’s not by a traditional cover band. The only human element in the tune "Drowned in the Sun" is the vocalist. Other that, it was all written and performed by a computer.

Ace Piva is behind this project. He's a founding partner of Over the Bridge, a non-profit based in Toronto. He spoke to KUOW’s Kim Malcolm about his company’s work.

"We basically took a collection of songs and had an artificial intelligence software called Google Magenta listen to them over and over again," Piva told KUOW's Kim Malcolm. "We then asked the AI software to output a new song in that style."

"All the musical elements you hear, from the lyrics to the melodies to the hooks and the rhythms, were all written by artificial intelligence. We then had a vocalist perform the AI-written lyrics to the AI-written melody."

The song is part of a collection called Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, which refers to musicians who unexpectedly died at the age of 27, including Kurt Cobain. The collection also features AI-created songs in the style of Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and The Doors.

Piva says the project is meant to highlight the mental health and substance-use issues that are common in the music industry. The project website states: “To show the world what’s been lost to this mental health crisis, we’ve used artificial intelligence to create the album The 27 Club never had the chance to.”

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.

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