The third installment in the Synthetic Biology album trilogy by Rubber Band Banjo is a sci-fi/horror soundtrack that features a sci-fi short story “The Human Flesh Is Creeping Back” written and narrated by Sean Sleight and James Slone. As with the Synthetic Biology II: The Evolution Machine, this album features artwork by art/science high school students from Tory Peterson’s class at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minnesota. Electronic and ambient soundtrack music travels through an imagined biopocalypse caused by a zombie virus, nature run amok in urban environments with dub/hip hop blasting from car stereos, police sirens, loud explosions, a street saxophone musician (offered by Craig Hoffman), and zombies terrorizing the landscape. Eventually some survivors escape Earth and the story follows an extra-solar botantist named Major V. Brannon who reports some strange happenings while managing the AgriTECH crops on Planetoid 0078. Some kind of viral DNA sequence transmitted from Earth to the DNA synthesizer on the planet starts to transform the crops, all while the Major’s synthetic radiation-resistance function fails, and the human flesh starts to creep back. A green virus spaceship appears and at first it’s unclear to the Major whether this is a threat, or some kind of technology used to transform and seed new worlds.
The artwork created for this album by Danny Dang was inspired by the question "How would you design nature?" The three pieces of artwork include a tree engineered to grow leaves in the shape of butterflies, a tree/street lamp engineered to glow using DNA from a bioluminescent animal (a "green" alternative to a traditional street lamp), and a dandelion flower that is genetically engineered to grow feathers instead of dandelion seeds. Additional album artwork from Elsie-Marie Ibes depicts characters from the story: a victim of the biopocalypse and an evolved plant man. The album artwork also includes a 9 X 9 Sudoku puzzle that is encoded in DNA. Three bonus tracks include The End of the World Dance Party, an imaginary beer commercial that aired on December 21, 2216.
Synthetic Biology III: Biopocalypse/Biogenesis is out on Fringe Biology Recordings on 12/21/12. For more info, visit www.fringebiologyrecordings.com.