The British band is working with Swiss scientists to translate the album into genetic code.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album Mezzanine, Robert del Naja and Grant Marshall are upping the ante by encoding the 1998 record in DNA, with the help of scientists from ETH Zurich. The audio files will be compressed down to 15 megabytes, small enough to fit on a mere 920,000 short strands of DNA. Then, the strands will be stored in 5,000 glass beads small enough that they'll be invisible to the naked eye.
While seemingly extreme, this storage method might just become the way of the future. Robert Grass, professor at ETH Zurich's Functional Materials Laboratory, says, "This method allows us to archive the music for hundreds to thousands of years." The ETH Zurich report notes that the lifespan of a CD is maybe 30 years. This musical genetic project is expected to be completed in two months.
Massive Attack's Mezzanine will be the second largest known file stored on DNA, second to a Microsoft project of more that 200 megabytes.