“Tutu” by Miles Davis is one of the first songs to be encoded in DNA

Twist Bioscience, a company accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis, announced that working with Microsoft and University of Washington researchers, they have successfully stored archival audio recordings of two important music performances of the Montreux Jazz Festival.

“Tutu” by Miles Davis and “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple are the first archival-quality performances to be preserved in a drop of DNA, described in a press release as “nature’s preferred storage medium.” These tiny specks of DNA will preserve a part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Archive, where valuable cultural heritage collections are recorded.

The event marks the first time DNA has been used as a long-term archival-quality storage medium.

“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple was selected as a tribute to Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Nobs; it was written as a tribute to Nobs’ rescue efforts at the Casino Barrière de Montreux during a Frank Zappa concert promoted by Claude Nobs. Miles Davis’ “Tutu” was selected for the role the trumpeter played in music history and the success of the festival. Both songs were encoded onto DNA and read back with 100 percent accuracy. After being decoded, the songs were played on September 29 at the ArtTech Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“With advancements in nanotechnology, I believe we can expect to see people living prolonged lives, and with that, we can also expect to see more developments in the enhancement of how we live,” said Quincy Jones. “For me, life is all about learning where you came from in order to get where you want to go, but in order to do so, you need access to history! And with the unreliability of how archives are often stored, I sometimes worry that our future generations will be left without such access… So, it absolutely makes my soul smile to know that EPFL, Twist Bioscience, and others are coming together to preserve the beauty and history of the Montreux Jazz Festival for our future generations on DNA! I’ve been a part of this festival for decades and it truly is a magnificent representation of what happens when different cultures unite for the sake of music. Absolute magic. And I’m proud to know that the memory of this special place will never be lost.”

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