Massive Attack to release DNA-encoded ‘Mezzanine’ spray paint can as part of vinyl reissue

Massive Attack are taking their ambitious Mezzanine anniversary celebrations to the next level with the announcement of their DNA-encoded spray paint can which will be included in the vinyl reissue.

While limited, it is thought that around one million cans will be sent out as part of the vinyl release.

The band, who have already announced plans to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their 1998 album Mezzanine by encoding the record’s 11 tracks into actual DNA, are bringing paint to the party too.

Swiss STEM university ETH Zurich, who is behind the DNA project, announced the plans to convert the songs of the album into “920,000 short DNA strands” which will be poured into “5,000 tiny (nanometre-sized) glass spheres.”

Now, Massive Attack will release a limited number of aerosol cans containing a matt black paint which will feature the Mezzanine DNA used in the record. The move could well be a cheeky play on the long rumours that band member 3D is secretly the identity of unknown graffiti artist Banksy.

“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,” 3D said in a press statement.

Dr. Robert Grass, of Zurich’s TurboBeads company, explained: “This digital bitstream of the album (0s and 1s) was first translated to 901’065 DNA sequences (A, C, T and Gs), each 105 characters long.

“The 901’065 individual sequences were then chemically synthesised resulting in a synthetic DNA sample, which fully represents the digital bitstream of the album.”

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