There's a version of Hole's Celebrity Skin featuring AI vocals from Kurt Cobain and the future is gonna be really messy

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
(Image credit: FaustoX)

The terrifying thing about AI is that right now it's as bad as it's ever gonna be. So that thing that it does really well at the moment? Like upscaling video or conjuring up images based on text input or writing your thesis about the viscosity of concrete? We're only at the very beginning, and things are speeding up. 

Last month British indie band Breezer created a lot of noise by releasing a "new" Oasis album, writing and recording The Lost Tapes themselves and using a software package called Voicepaw to recreate an entirely new set of vocals from frontman Liam Gallagher. 

And now we've got the late Kurt Cobain singing a Hole cover.

It's not perfect. The recorded sound of the vocal isn't right, and AI Kurt follows real Courtney Love's lines more than he would have if Nirvana had covered Celebrity Skin. But the vocal inflections – best represented by the way AI Kurt's voice cracks when he reaches for the high notes – aren't too far off being absolutely right. And it's early days. 

We look forward to a time in the not too distant future where AI musicians will swap places at the drop of a hat, and we won't be able to spot the fakery, even when we know it to be there. Where Ozzy Osbourne bellows his way through Immigrant Song and the young Robert Plant brings some lemon-squeezing action to War Pigs. Where software transforms Beatles' albums by replacing George Harrison's solos with an AI Eddie Van Halen. Where someone will be able to conjure up a previously unheard album by Deep Purple's MKII line-up and then rerecord it in seconds with the MKIII version of the band.    

Things are about to get extremely messy. 

YouTuber FaustoX, who's behind the Hole/Kurt mashup, has also produced videos in which AI Kurt sings Radiohead's Creep and Blur's Song 2, while an AI Lana Dal Rey tackles the Johnny Cash version of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt.    

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.