Networked_Music_Review

The Buddha Machine

buddhamachine_colors01_300dpi.jpgThe Buddha Machine (by FM3) is a little plastic box that plays music. Specifically, FM3 constructed nine drones, varying from two seconds to 42 seconds, which repeat endlessly in the listener’s ear until the “track” is switched to the next drone (or the two AA batteries run out). The machine has its own built-in speaker, in case one would like to fill a room with the drones, but there is also a headphone jack for more personal meditative experiences. There’s a switch on the side that allows for traversal of the tracks, and a DC jack (though an adapter is not included) for those who would like the Buddha Machine experience be truly endless. In a way, it’s like the cheapest pre-loaded IPod you’ll ever be able to buy.” – excerpt from review at PopMatters.com. Download all 9 Buddha Machine loops (uncompressed .WAV format!!).

Buddha Machine FM3
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp9-V3QSafA[/youtube]

fm3-buddha machine 2
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2XqrhuerRc[/youtube]

Sam and the Buddha Machine
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA-9hejvd1A[/youtube]

toronto-garden.jpgFounded in 1999 by Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, two active members of the Beijing music scene, FM3 are considered pioneers of electronic music in China. Known for dedicating prime space for “live” aspects within their work, FM3 produces mysterious, meditative and minimalist soundscapes, while subtly adding elements of Chinese folk tradition into a universe abundant in micro-sounds and synthetic glitches. FM3 has been called “the most prominent experimental act in China” by the US magazine Grooves. XLR8R described FM3’s sound as “poetic noise” and the UK magazine The Wire calls FM3 live sets “meditative,” “soothing” and “engagingly intimate.” In 2004, FM3 was commissioned by the Louvre museum in Paris to provide a new soundtrack for the 1930s film “La Croisière jaune.” The project concluded with three live performances at the Louvre Auditorium in early June. FM3’s sound installations have been featured at the 2004 Shanghai Bienalle as well as the Beijing-Tokyo Art Project, the Dashanzi International Art Festival and the Kulturhallen Dampfzentrale in the Swiss capital of Bern.

The mass-produced FM3 Buddha Machine loop box was named of the best “boxed sets” of 2005 by the New York Times and was one of the top selling electronic releases of 2005-06. FM3 has released music on a number of European and North American labels, including Staalplaat (DE), Staubgold (DE), Bip-Hop (FR), Mutek_Rec (CAN), Mousike (ITALY), Nascente (UK), Leerraum (CH), Lona (HK) and Sublime Frequencies (USA).

UPDATE: Listen to the Buddha Machine dying:


Jun 14, 2007
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.

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