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Way Beyond Vinyl: How About An Organic Living Record From Yeast Cells

Vinyl records are incredibly bad the environment, and while there’s a new breakthrough in making the format greener, the ultimate format may go beyond plastic. A biomedical researcher and touring artist named Mikael Hwang has created a “living record” in a petri dish out of yeast cells, which may not be practical on its own but could lead to additional breakthroughs that help wean music lovers from their beloved plastic products.

A "living record" made from yeast on the Music 3.0 Blog

Hwang’s recent Signal EP on Universal Music was accompanied by an art installation at South Korea’s Paradise Art Lab Festival 2022 that demonstrated that even microscopic organisms like yeast cells are capable of reproducing music. 

According to EDM.com, “a special hybridized petri dish and record setup was embedded in an obelisk at the center of the exhibit. Inside was a proprietary substance that facilitated the capture of the yeast cell vibrations, allowing them to effectively be transmitted into playable audio.” You can see and hear it below:

Believe it or not, yeast is not the only biological-driven music vehicle. Other organisms such as mushrooms have been found to also be capable of producing music. Check out the video below to watch an oyster mushroom produce music through a modular synthesizer.

The one thing about the music business is that it has a history of jumping on the latest in technology for music delivery, and it’s been doing it for more than a hundred years. From shellac to vinyl to cassettes to digital tape to CDs to high-resolution DVDs to digital downloads to streaming music, the industry has jumped in feet first as soon as it could.

It might be a little too early to expect living record releases, but if the technology ever proves that it’s scalable, don’t be surprised to hear your next release in a packet of yeast, a mushroom, some bread or even a beer 😀

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