Massive Attack, makers of the seminal hit “Teardrop” on the 1998 album Mezzanine, are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album in a wildly unique fashion.


Earlier this year, the group announced that they’d encoded their album within DNA – now, that DNA has been made into an aerosol spray paint can. Still with us?

According to a press release, a limited number of spray cans will contain the DNA encoded audio within matt black paint and each can will contain approximately one million copies of the album.

Dr. Robert Grass of Zurich’s TurboBeads company explained the complex process of incorporating DNA into spray paint. “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,” noted Grass. “The 901,065 individual sequences were then chemically synthesised resulting in a synthetic DNA sample, which fully represents the digital bitstream of the album.” The DNA sequences were then stored in “synthetic glass fossils,” which were in turn added to the spray cans.

It doesn’t seem possible at this time for the album to be played back via any yet-existing medium, but regardless, it’s one hell of a collector’s item.

Releasing the album in a spray paint can is also a reference to rumors earlier this year that Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja was in fact anonymous graffiti artist Banksy.