The Buddha Machine, originally released in 2005 on Staalplaat, is a rectangular, plastic box equipped with a small speaker, poor circuitry and nine pre-recorded loops of varying length and levels of degradation (due to manufacturing imperfections). It is fragile collection of timeless drones, an evocatively fragile construction. Made in China by Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian (aka fm3
), it was modeled on a machine used in Buddhist Temples to assist prayer – the same factories are used to manufacture both the prayer machines and the Buddha machine – and became a runaway success, treasured by friends and admirers around the world.
The friends and admirers have now gathered to express their appreciation for the loop player. First there was Robert Henke
, with his beautiful elaboration Layering Buddha
(Imbalance Computer Music 2006). Then there was Jukebox Buddha
(Staubgold, 2006), a remix/tribute album with contributions from esteemed fans including long-time fm3 collaborator Wang Fan, Adrian Sherwood
, Thomas Fehlmann, Gudrun Gut
, Blixa Bargeld, Jan Jelinek
, Sunn O))) and Sun City Girls
, and now, CTM gathers some of the key acolytes as well as the creators, fm3, for and expedition into the ambient world of Buddha loops.
The original nine loops were culled from fm3’s live set; a full-circle later and they are doing a DJ-set with Buddha Machines and the loops heard from them. Robert Henke will present his epic reinterpretation of the loops direct and neverendingly live. Mapstation
, joined by video artist Adi Wolotzky
, combine fm3's Buddha Machine with Nam June Paik's work, "tv-buddha", first shown in 1974. In the latter, an image of a seated Buddha is relayed by video camera to a TV screen, whereby the Buddha observes his own image on screen: a closed circuit installation which fm3's Buddha Machine somewhat resembles, on account of the encounter of Eastern Meditation with Western Media, the desire to experience an infinite loop, the interaction between image and self, or the alienating humor that is evinced by both works.
And the Buddha Machines
themselves will be on display in an installation that explores their collective, ego-less nature. Individual machines play the loops with a slightly different pitch and duration, which allows spacious textures and deep echoes to occur when multiples are played together, creating a rich, fragile and intimate environment.