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The ‘genetic code’ of Covid-19 is being sold as ambient tracks

Forget your Spotify wrapped, the real soundtrack of your life over the last year (at least) has been Covid-19. You can hear exactly what that sounds like by picking up NFTs of ambient tracks mixed by music producers, apparently.

If, like many, you found solace and escapism from the many lockdowns of 2020 by listening to music, 2021 is offering up an obscure yet symbolic treat… we think?

Using the many viral sequences from all known variants of Covid-19 – please, no more – a company called ViroMusic is using a process called DNA Sonification to create original ambient tracks. If you’ve already lost your sense of taste or smell, why not give your ears a feel for the experience?

If you’re expecting sampled sneezes and coughs, mind, you’re way off. What actually happens is producers take the genetic code of the virus and find corresponding musical notes to create a melody. This is then mastered and overlayed with strings, bass, and percussion to form an ambient song.

In all DNA, since there are only 21 codons – groupings of three letters which form the basis of amino acids – each one is easily assigned to a particular note within in a musical scale. This way, there’s actually a cohesive melody when inputting midi tracks and not just a mish mash of clashing notes.

Here’s an example of a song ViroMusic describes as being ‘made by the virus.’ To date, those available are more haunting ODST than dance floor filler.

‘Not a single note has been altered – it’s a direct musical representation of the viral code,’ says ViroMusic. ‘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.’

Whilst you can bump a few samples of some 10,000 created songs on YouTube for free, those who wish to have their own will pay around 0.07 Ethereum (or approximately £210).  Yes, that does mean they’re available exclusively as NFTs – because it’s 2021 and why the hell not?

Those who decide to fork over the coins will be sent specific details about their chosen track, including which part of Covid-19’s genetic sequence was used to form the melody and a description of what the particular gene does in the context of a virus.

Granted, as ‘interesting’ and ‘provocative’ as they are, they’re probably not appropriate for a last-minute Christmas present.

You can just see it now, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be sat in yet another lockdown scouring the Metaverse and buying NFTs whilst our personalised Covid jaunts twinkle away in the background.


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