Skip to comments.Beach Boys Fan Completes ‘Smile’ Album Using AI
Posted on 04/22/2023 7:16:23 PM PDT by nickcarraway
A Beach Boys fan released a version of the band’s abandoned album Smile, using artificial intelligence software to complete the tracks.
You can hear the full album below.
Creator Mike LeRoy fabricated a backstory for his work before detailing how he brought it to fruition. “In the summer of 2018 I traveled to Japan,” he wrote in the video description, claiming he found the album in a secondhand store. “I slid a pink record sleeve out of a neatly packed shelf of vinyl records. Looking down at my prize, I was presented with a Native American glancing at the bicycle parked on the shore. The OBI strip simply read: The Beach Boys Smile."
He continued: "When the needle hit the disc, I discovered something utterly shocking: a seemingly complete, clean, stereo mix of the Beach Boys' unreleased opus. Or not! That’s just a story! But after all, in some universe that must be true.”
Listen to Mike LeRoy's AI Version of the Beach Boys' 'Smile'
Originally planned as a follow-up to the Pet Sounds, Smile collapsed under the weight of Brian Wilson's perfectionism, mental instability and drug use. The Beach Boys shelved the project and released the simplified Smiley Smile in 1967. Wilson revisited and re-recorded the material for 2004's Brian Wilson Presents Smile, and in 2011 the Beach Boys released The Smile Sessions, a hypothetical reconstruction pulled from the original album sessions.
LeRoy explained in his liner notes how he created Wilson-style vocals for the tracks that never featured them. “Months and months ago when I began this project, I was pretty sure the community would be morally opposed to AI vocals,” he wrote. “This had always been a dream of mine, but I wasn't sure how I felt. When I started to see [another fan’s] work with his AI Brian model, I realized the time had come to unleash it on the world.”
He trained the AI using a recent singing voice conversion model. “I hadn't used it for Smile much because I wasn’t sure I wanted to,” he admitted. “In hindsight, after the 100 hours I must’ve put into the whole process of getting Brian's voice out of this machine, it was well worth it. If you turn off your mind and, perhaps, sing along, it really can feel like Brian sang on these. A special feeling I’m blessed to have been a part of making happen.”
LeRoy's version of Smile comes shortly after an Oasis fan released an AI-based album of “new music” from the defunct band. British group Breezer launched The Lost Tapes last week, claiming they'd gotten bored with waiting for brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher to get back together. Liam responded to the project by calling it “mad as fuck” and adding: “I sound mega.”
this is both fascinating and scary at the same time.
In time, people will probably be able to feed in old TV sitcoms and then command the AI to create a new season. “Computer, create another 20 episode season of the Andy Griffith Show.” “Creating new season of the Andy Griffith Show - estimated time of completion: 8 hours.”
Kind of a virtual Wrecking Crew, if you will.
Scary is right.
A.I. is in its infancy, but at the same time it is advancing parabolically. A.I.’s combo of creativity and intelligence probably guarantees an authoritarian dictatorship to whomever controls it. And it could come very soon.
And it sounds fabricated. Interesting, but Brian's 2004 "completion" of Smile with his fantastic band, is really the definitive one. And the live concert video that accompanies it, with the band cannily producing all the disparate sounds, and Brian in fine voice and complete control of himself and the music, is phenomenal.
“Kind of a virtual Wrecking Crew, if you will.”
More like virtual Wilson-brother voices circa 1967. I listened to this fan mix all the way through, and as far as I can tell, little if any of the instrumental tracking is synthetic. What this fan did, with minor success, is mix in some AI lead vocals on The Old Master Painter, Do You Like Worms, Child is Father of the Man and Blue Hawaii. With the exception of Master Painter, he’s simply got AI Wilsonesque voices singing the lyrics and melodies that debuted in Brian’s 2004 version of Smile. I know that the “Worms” lyrics were actually vintage 1966, but the melody is from 2004. There’s a 1966 Smile tracking session where Brian sings the “once upon the Sandwich Islands” bit with a different melody.
In any case, this AI vocals are interesting, but also somewhat flat and sterile. To hear the real 1966-67 Brian Wilson deliver a power lead vocal of Surf’s Up is reminder that there’s a human component to all this that AI technology can’t fully replicate.
Fair enough, but what Brian was trying to do was essentially impossible... to cut an entire album like he had cut the Good Vibrations single. It took him 6 months to get GV right. How could he or anyone else possibly do 35-40 minutes at that level? But he tried. And it’s a fascinating “mess.”
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.