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Dazed autumn 2021

COVID-19’s genetic code has been turned into a series of ambient tracks

Selected Ambient Works could never

Forget those end of year lists, this is the sound of 2020: the genetic code of COVID-19 has been turned into a series of ambient tracks that are now available to buy as an NFT.

Produced by website Viromusic, the tracks “are made using the genetic sequence inside the coronavirus. Using a technique called DNA Sonification, the melody in the songs is derived entirely from the viral sequence. Every note in the melody is part of the step-by-step instructions the virus uses to make more copies of itself.” The company then bulked out the songs using cello, bass, synths, and drums. 

With prices starting from 0.07 Ethereum (approximately £210), the tracks are available to buy on the Rarible platform as an NFT. So far, there’s 10,000 songs to choose from, with presumeably more on the way.

Those who purchase the NFT will get sent across specific details about their chosen track, such as which part of the coronavirus’ genetic sequence corresponds to the code used in the song, and a description of what that gene is used for in the virus – yay!

“Not a single note has been altered – it’s a direct musical representation of the viral code,” say Viromusic.

“The idea for this collection was born from an awe of the beauty in the code of life. We hope this project helps to raise awareness that even a virus capable of inflicting such misery is fundamentally based on the same code as every living thing on earth,” said the company.

“We thought it would be interesting to take this code and make it play music. We hope you find it as haunting, interesting, and provocative as we do.”

Since the project was launched on December 4, just one NFT has been sold. Listen to a selection of the tracks (ft calming visualisers) below.