Spleeter: Like Unbaking a Cake, but for Music

I occasionally still get actual emails – you know, like letters, but sort of digital – that make me stop what I’m doing and go “oh, wow, that’s a thing now?” And so it was a few days ago, when my old friend and occasional musical sparring partner Megan dropped me an email containing the phrase “yes, Spleeter is the thing, it separates music into drums, bass, vocals, piano and everything else in exactly the way unbaking a cake works” – and accompanied by an absolutely sublime mashup of Tori Amos’ “Cornflake Girl” with Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” created using said eldritch un-cake-baking technology.

So… I absolutely had to poke this thing around to see how it works. And I did. And I made a video. Check it out.

The track is one of my parody covers, “HTML” (a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”), recorded entirely in Logic Pro X - software drums, live guitar, bass and vocals. I’ve then bounced the whole thing down to an uncompressed AIFF file, fed that through Spleeter using the 4stem preset to extract vocals, bass, drums and “everything else”; you can hear the results in the video. Spleeter is available under an MIT license and it’s on GitHub at https://github.com/deezer/spleeter - you’ll need to install Python and the Conda package manager, but I got it running on macOS without too much difficulty.

And yes. Living in the future is weird.