Over the Bridge, an organization that supports mental health in the music industry, has created an album of AI-generated “lost tracks” by musicians who passed away at a young age due to mental health or addiction issues.
These tunes aren’t just re-mixed versions of artists’ previous songs – they are brand new tracks created by computers, with the help of some talented audio engineers.
Why This Album Was Created
The "27 Club" of artists who passed away at age 27 includes Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. This new AI-generated album, Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, features four tracks in these artists' musical styles.
The album was created as an homage to the music these artists might have created, had they not died so young.
A survey by Over The Bridge reports that 68% of musicians have experienced depression, and music industry workers are two times more likely than the general population to attempt suicide.
Many music professionals lost their income overnight when the pandemic hit in March 2020, worsening existing mental health struggles in the industry.
The organization’s goal for the album is to shed light on the current mental health crisis among contemporary musicians and encourage music insiders to get the help they need.
How Artificial Intelligence Wrote the New Songs
Using Google’s AI program Magenta, Over the Bridge team members analyzed MIDI files of the chosen artists’ works. The computer translated each artist's melodies, harmonies, and rhythmic choices into synthesized recreations, and then the staff picked the best small snippets of music for each artist.
Once the artificial intelligence algorithm learned the songs’ individual components, an audio engineer put the musical elements together into new songs. They used an artificial neural network to generate lyrics for each song, again trying to match the style of the artist as closely as possible.
After Over the Bridge created the compositions for the four tracks, the team brought in an audio house to arrange the parts and add effects. They also recruited singers, including tribute artists who sound very similar to the original artists. Eric Hogan, for example, has been the lead singer of the band Nevermind: The Ultimate Tribute to Nirvana for several years.
Listen to the New Songs
Listen to “Drowned in the Sun” (in the style of Nirvana):
Listen to “Man, I Know” (in the style of Amy Winehouse):
Find out more about the work of Over the Bridge, or learn more about the audio engineering process behind the creation of the Lost Tapes.