AIDS virus musically mapped, turned into an album

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Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington in Philadelphia.

When I was in college, I fooled around in a short-lived band inspired by no-wave group DNA. But my shitty noise band has nothing on the University of Georgia, where students make music inspired by actual DNA — that of HIV.

That's what graduate student Alexandra Pajak did for her hour-long, classical-inspired album Sounds of HIV. In the album, which bears the subtitle "Music Transcribed From DNA," she sought to:

show all of the properties that the DNA in HIV contains. … I stayed very loyal to the DNA. Every segment of the virus was assigned music pitches that correspond to the segment's scientific properties. The sounds literally reflect the nature of the virus.

Holy shit. So what does the AIDS virus sound like? According to its composer, "complex and strange," but also "eerie, spooky." This sounds about right for, you know, AIDS.

And if you were wondering, The AIDS Institute is totally cool with all of this. Said one representative:

Anything to raise awareness and educate the public about AIDS is a good thing. By connecting AIDS to music, the album could even help reduce the stigma associated with the disease. I've never heard of anything quite like this. It's very interesting.

Right on. Read more about this insanity here, and listen to clips from Sounds of HIV here.