massive attack celebrate ‘mezzanine’ by encoding it in dna

The band mark the 20th anniversary of their groundbreaking album with groundbreaking technology.

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24 April 2018, 7:53am

Image via Wikipedia

Twenty years ago Massive Attack released their third album Mezzanine, which went on to become their most successful project ever and break ground for the UK band internationally. It’s only fitting then that the band celebrate the iconic album’s 20th anniversary by breaking new ground again and having it encoded in DNA.

In a world first Massive Attack worked with scientists lead by Professor Robert Grass from ETH Zurich to convert the album’s data into genetic code and transfer it to microscopic strands of DNA stored in 5,000 nano-sized glass spheres that are invisible to the naked eye. The glass spheres sit inside a small bottle of water that looks completely unremarkable from the outside but really holds a piece of music history that can potentially live on for thousands of years.

A snapshot of Mezzanine’s genetic code after converting the album to genetic information. Image via ETH Zurich/Robert Grass

“While the information stored on a CD or hard disk is a sequence of zeros and ones, biology stores genetic information in a sequence of the four building blocks of DNA: A, C, G and T,” explained Professor Grass on ETH Zurich’s website.

Pushing the boundaries of music and technology has always been in Massive Attack’s nature considering Mezzanine was the first album ever to be offered as a free stream for its 1998 release.