Enjoy this AI-generated album in the style of The Beatles

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/05/enjoy-this-ai-generated-album-in-the-style-of-the-beatles.html

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not to be that guy, but do the Beatles have “a” style? Love the newly minted Beatlese the AI sings in though.

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This is the music which plays every time I wake up to discover I’ve awoken on the wrong planet entirely. Totally normal there. Here, it’s just unnerving.

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This sounds exactly like being way too drunk

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Beatlandish?

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*Pepperlandish.

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This is ok given it is AI, but the AI obviously wasn’t given context to the training, the real music of the Beatles has a flow to it as they went from the early days of musical influences of the 40’s, skiffle, and the music of a lot of black clubs like Rhythm & Blues and some Jazz, right through the ages as they produced music that was undeniably their own, with a unique feel to it and yet so familiar, mostly influenced by alcohol, weed, LSD and fame.

This largely is a mismash of sounds they (The Beatles) have used over several decades all rolled into several tracks without regard of when that sound or feel would have been produced eg one part was very Sgt Pepper feeling but was intermingled with the sounds of the first music heard from them long before they were even known as The Beatles. I cannot describe this any better, but I will say it’s not an unpleasant listen.

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Reminds me of (in no particular order):

  • Their B-sides / outtakes i.e. their most unformed / experimental work
  • Animal Collective
  • Daniel Johnston
  • the more ambitious tracks of The Monkees, Cat Stevens, Harry Nilsson, and Alan Price
  • Os Mutantes
  • Silver Apples
  • if they’d really just let Brian Wilson do whatever he wanted to do with Smile
  • at least a nice hint of early Moody Blues

And … no offense to an amazing Beatles catalog … the production on this is just way too modern (and therefore cooler) than anything the Beatles actually did.

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Dreadful - with no redeeming features.

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Have them do The Shaggs next.

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This is an atrocity. Without getting into a deep philosophical discussion about consciousness and whether it can be created or simulated by AI, it’s quite obvious to me that true art needs to have a human being involved, who can experience joy, love, lust, disappointment, sadness, ecstasy, depression, and an acute awareness of their own mortality, and impart keen insights into the work. AI can imitate, and replicate by variation, the words, melodies, rhythms, timbres etc. but not the content, the meaning. The music “industry” (what a disgusting concept) will embrace this misguided effort and further alienate true musicians while cranking out plastic hits.

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This is interesting as an experiment because the Beatles have such a diverse catalog. It exposes the limits of what current AI can grok and imitate. What fascinates me is how contrasting this with the actual Beatles exposes in us the many things we intuitively understand about music, and so often take for granted.

If the same algorithm was applied to house music, I bet it would be virtually indistinguishable from any house music produced previously.

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I bet this thing could do a great version of The Stooges “Funhouse” album. I seriously love that album, but so much of it is: Riff; Iggy yelp; wah wah solo; and saxophone screech. I dunno, I’d like to hear it.

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Sounds more like Oasis.

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AI: Request context for

I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob, goo goo goo g’joob
Goo goo g’joob, goo goo goo g’joob, goo
Joob, joob, jooba
Jooba, jooba, jooba
Joob, jooba
Joob, jooba

Computer Scientist: Honestly I think Lennon was just doing a lot of shrooms.

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If The Beatles changed their name to The Mumbles

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Beatles style:

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I find this Brian Jonestown Massacre song to be the epitome of Beatles amalgamations.

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Sounds like the Grateful Dead on a good day

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I’ll take that bet. House music is more diverse than the Beatles catalogue, and because of sampling and remixes there is some crossover too. Then you have all the edge cases, like where does disco end and Chicago house music begin? When did early gabber stop being house music (if it ever did)? When did Detroit techno become techno? Does Hi-NRG count?

The Beatles are a well defined problem for the AI in comparison.

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