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Massive Attack have preserved their iconic album 'Mezzanine' as DNA

The very first time an album has been stored in this way

  • Harrison Williams
  • 20 April 2018
Massive Attack have preserved their iconic album 'Mezzanine' as DNA

In an unprecedented move to preserve their iconic album 'Mezzanine', Massive Attack have encoded the material as DNA.

The historic project coincides with the album's 20th anniversary and was inspired by band-member Robert Del Naja's fascination with the idea that art can be produced by adding synthesized DNA to paint or ink.

Massive Attack worked with Professor Robert Grass and his team at ETH Zurich as well as Zurich-based company Turbobeads and the US company CustomArray to store the album in DNA molecules.

Grass described why using DNA in this manner is special via the lab’s website: “This method allows us to archive the music for hundreds to thousands of years. 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."

ETH also described the unique process they used to encode the album as DNA strands, which is stored inside 5,000 nano-sized glass spheres that are impossible to see with the naked eye. These strands are then stored in a small bottle filled with water, which won't expire. Grass adds: “Compared to traditional data-storage systems, it is quite complex and expensive to store information on DNA. However, once information is stored on DNA, we can make millions of copies quickly and cost-effectively with minimal effort.”

This is also the first time a work like this has been stored as DNA, a historic moment to celebrate the influential album.

Listen to 'Mezzanine' below.

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