Sixteen years after his death Japanese artist 'hide' is still a legend, in 2009 his former band-mates performed with his avatar on stage

Yamaha recreates voice of dead artist

Yamaha has recreated the voice of a deceased Japanese musician and made a recording of his previously unrecorded song.

The project, which required digital analysis of a large quantity of vocal recordings of the 1980s and 1990s artist Hideto Matsumoto, was carried out on request of Universal Music Japan, which plans to release the record in December this year to celebrate what would be the singer’s 50th birthday.

The musician, better known under his stage name ‘hide’, shot to fame in the late 1980s as part of Japanese heavy metal band X Japan. The eccentric singer, songwriter and composer became an icon of the Japanese youth rebelling against the country’s conformist society. He died in 1998, aged only 33, in an apparent suicide.

As the singer still enjoys enormous popularity in Japan more than 15 years after his tragic death, hide’s voice was recreated by Yamaha’s voice synthesiser and voice modification technology using the company’s VOCALOID software. The voice synthesiser extracts fragments of voice sounds from the actual recordings of singers and connects them into what appears as a continuous flow of sound mimicking the artist's natural singing voice.

Hide’s co-producer and close co-worker I.N.A. oversaw the process, which resulted in a recording of a song called 'Co Gal', which the artist wrote shortly before his tragic death. The December release will be the first release of the song, which hide himself never recorded.

“I think it is a great honour for us at Yamaha to be called up to use our technology to re-create the singing voice of a great musician who left us so many great songs and recordings,” said Hideki Kenmochi, leader of the VOCALOID project business development at Yamaha. “We will be very happy if this project contributes to the development of musical culture.”

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