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“We have always had something similar”: Eddie Kramer on using Beatles’ AI tech to restore Jimi Hendrix recordings

“Somebody has got a cassette somewhere! Tell them to contact me and we’ll fix it.”

Eddie Kramer and Jimi Hendrix

Image: Bobby Bank / Chris Walter / Getty Images

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Producer-engineer and frequent Jimi Hendrix collaborator Eddie Kramer has said that he’s open to using AI technology – a la The Beatles’ Now And Then – to restore the guitarist’s old recordings.

Speaking on a new episode of The Vinyl Guide podcast, Kramer shares his thoughts on digital tools that have been the talk of town lately thanks to projects like The Beatles’ new song Now and Then.

Asked if similar technologies could be applied to Hendrix recordings, Kramer admits that [via MusicRadar] “There are tapes that I would love to get my hands on with John [McDermott] and Janie [Hendrix] and say, ‘Hey, maybe we can do X, or Y.’”

And given how divided the music industry has been over the tech’s use, the producer clarifies that “when one uses the phrase ‘AI’ it is really advanced digital manipulation, and now the technology has become so evolved that here is a cassette tape of John [Lennon], playing piano, and now they are able to isolate the voice.”

“We have always had something similar,” Kramer adds. “Maybe not as good – but now as the technology has expanded we are really able to become quite clever about the quality that remains thereafter, and if it requires some king of AI manipulation, okay, that’s fine.”

“But it’s a digital piece of information and now we can go, ‘Wow! John’s voice.’ Same thing with Hendrix. I mean, I’m sure if we found another tape where Jimi’s voice is buried, I know I could use something similar – which I have used before but now it’s going to be on a much higher-level.”

In the case of the Beatles, ‘AI’ was used to “extricate” the late John Lennon’s vocals from an old demo tape. In the words of Macca himself, “Nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real and we all play on it. We cleaned up some existing recordings – a process which has gone on for years”.

That said, Kramer has warned that it might take a while before we actually see the release of one of Hendrix’s lost tapes: “I would hesitate to use ‘around the corner’ because that corner could be quite lengthy, [but] hopefully, yes,” he says.

Kramer’s latest work with Experience Hendrix involved the previously unheard Hollywood Bowl set of 18 August 1967. The producer also called attention to a rumoured recording of Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin at a New York club.

“Originally it was called the Village Barn and then it became The Generation nightclub, that Jimi used to go down and jam a lot in, then it became the Electric Lady. But who knows!? Somebody has got a cassette somewhere! Tell them to contact me and we’ll fix it.”

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