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21 April 2023

An AI Oasis album? Is this the future of music?

As someone who writes about and creates music, I should be appalled by “AIsis”. But there’s a voice of dissent in the back of my mind.

By Marc Burrows

I’m writing this article from the future. It’s been 500 years since the machines gained control. For five centuries, every piece of music, every recited poem, every line of dialogue has been delivered in the voice of Liam Gallagher. Liam Gallagher sings the Beatles. Liam Gallagher sings Mariah Carey’s entire back catalogue. Liam Gallagher sings all of the parts in every recording of Handel’s Messiah. He even sings “Don’t Look Back in Anger” now. “D’ ya know what I mean?” has replaced “please”, “thank you”, “goodbye” and “I love you”. The human race has stagnated. We are a people forced to use forks in a world of soup. And it all began in 2023, with AIsis.

Yes, AIsis. On 14 April 2023, a fairly unknown British indie band called Breezer released some songs in the style of early Oasis, using AI software to remodel their singer’s voice based on old recordings of Liam Gallagher. The resulting album was convincing enough that they considered leaking it as a hoax Oasis record to see if anyone was fooled – and it’s likely they would have been. These songs were written by someone who understands the appeal of early Oasis entirely. Turn the guitars up, write melodic choruses full of platitudes and nonsensical one-liners, and push, push, push. Lean into Liam’s aggressive vocals and allow that energy to dictate the mood. Chuck in a bit of Beatles-esque cod-psychedelia, some direct lifts from rock classics and some catchy-but-basic guitar solos, and you have an Oasis album. It’s not a difficult formula – after all, two thirds of Britain’s indie bands adapted it for themselves for the best part of a decade in the wake of the Gallaghers’ success.

But the creators of this rock’n’roll Dolly the Sheep opted for honesty, and under the label “AISIS – The Lost Tapes / Vol.1 (In Style of Oasis / Liam Gallagher – AI Mixtape/Album)”, the album was released to YouTube – where it quickly gained a fanbase. You can see why. The Breezer album gets it so very right – it’s not the Oasis album we’d get if the Gallaghers actually reunited, but it’s probably the one we’d want, with its wall-of-sound rock tracks to lighters-aloft ballads. Even Liam Gallagher was impressed, declaring it on Twitter to be “mad as fuck” and “better than any snizzle out there” – even going so far as to say “I sound mega”. And ya know what? He does. The AI is faultless. You’d never tell. As Breezer’s Bobby Geraghty told the Guardian this week, “AI is still very much controlled by the user” – Breezer wrote these songs all by themselves, and simply used AI to finesse the vocals – but the future could hold more complex and independent AI-generated music.

[See also: Why we should save O2 Academy Brixton]

Now we know how well it can be done, it won’t be long before dead singers are resurrected as AI voices – Elvis, John Lennon, the version of Morrissey that people actually liked. Abba have already digitised their appearances – why not let a computer do the music as well? How long before Kanye West creates an album by typing “Create 12 hip-hop songs in the style of Kanye West Grammy Award-winning political lyrics collabs from Jay-Z and Drake toplines from Michael Jackson Beyonce Chris Martin mastered for pop radio punchy catchy” into a computer and releasing the results? It’ll probably be his masterpiece.

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As someone who both writes about and creates music, I should be appalled by “the Lost Tapes”. Disgusted by their artificiality. But there’s a voice of dissent in the back of my mind. If the results are good, if people enjoy it, then… that’s hard to argue with, isn’t it? You can argue that AI music isn’t “real music” but that wouldn’t be true. If a song exists and it moves people in some way, whether to dance, to stare into the distance, to cry, to sing “Wonderwall” and “Bittersweet Symphony” along with the lads down the pub, then that reaction is valid. That music is real.

And that’s how it starts. That’s how they get us. That’s the thinking that ends the world. In 2025 the masterminds behind Breezer fed the AI with Liam’s entire Twitter feed. Two hours later it became self-aware. Within a day the war was won. We should have paid attention. It’s not too late for you though. Save yourselves. D’ya know what I mean?

[See also: The fatal flaw in the “final” Beatles song]

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