Previously, imagining what Nirvana would sound like as a dance music act was only a pie-in-the-sky thought, but today producers Jonathan Hay, Cain McKnight, and 41X have made the concept a reality.
Their collaborative album, Nirvana Reimagined As House & Techno is not only a musical tribute to Kurt Cobain's musical legacy, but also a tribute to his social and cultural impact.
The inspiration for this seemingly outlandish idea is rooted in the artists' desire to highlight Cobain's fervent advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights. Given the vital role the queer community played in facilitating the rise of dance music culture, the producers felt that reimagining the musical world of Nirvana in an electronic music context would be an engaging way to highlight this infrequently covered element of Cobain's legacy.
Cobain showed solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community throughout his career, from spray-painting the phrase “God is gay” in his hometown of Aberdeen to using his platform to vocally push back against bigotry. His principles were unwavering.
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"If you're a sexist, racist, homophobe, or basically an asshole, don't buy the CD," Cobain included in the liner notes of Nirvana's In Utero album.
As Hay pointed out in a statement to GRAMMY.com, Cobain was a vocal advocate for marginalized communities prior to the existence of a large social movement behind their causes. "He was a supporter of LGBTQ+ when it wasn't politically correct to be so," Hay said. "He's about love and positivity, which is what house music is all about. So, it just made sense for us."
To continue honoring Cobain's activism, "Something in the Way (House Mix)," the lead single from Nirvana Reimagined As House & Techno, was premiered on The Advocate, an LGBTQ+ interest magazine which was founded in 1967.
The album's debut music video for the track "Come As You Are (Techno Mix)" saw the record's producers partnering with Chip E., who is credited as the mentor of Frankie Knuckles, a legendary Chicago DJ known as "The Godfather of House."
Overall, there's one track for every year of Cobain's lifespan—27 club-inspired remakes in all. All proceeds from Nirvana Reimagined As House & Techno will be donated to charitable organizations, including GLAAD and MusiCares, to support the wellbeing of marginalized communities.