Massive Attack Announce Reissue of Mezzanine as DNA-Encoded Spray Paint

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Massive Attack Announce Reissue of <i>Mezzanine</i> as DNA-Encoded Spray Paint

U.K.-based trip-hop duo Massive Attack have found a use for the band’s newly DNA-encoded 1998 album Mezzanine: reissuing the album as spray paint.

Back in April, the duo announced their plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album by encoding it in DNA, which, in theory, should preserve it “eternally.” The process was done by compressing the album’s digital audio files into 920,000 strands of DNA, which were then placed inside 5,000 nanometer-sized glass spheres. The process was completed by professors at ETH Zurich in partnership with Zurich-based Turbobeads and U.S.-based CustomArray.

Originally, it was thought that these spheres would be housed in a water bottle, with listeners able to access the album after decoding it via computer. However, as announced today (Oct. 19), the spheres will be made into a matte black spray paint, with each can housing about one million copies of the album.

In a press release announcing the plans (via Pitchfork), Massive Attack’s 3D—who has been rumored to be Banksy, though those suspicions are mostly speculative—joked, “It’s a creative way to store your back catalogue, although DNA-encoded spray paint is unlikely to be adopted by street artists seeking anonymity.”

Mezzanine is the second-largest file to be stored in this manner, following Microsoft’s reported use of the method. Aiming to both improve the longevity of preserved data and decrease the amount of space taken up by the increasing amounts of information in society, Massive Attack are once again pioneers on the music-distribution front.

Revisit “Teardrop,” the second single released off of Mezzanine back in 1998, below.