Mar 10, 2006

The Buddha Machine: my crappy plastic friend

It's a box of sounds, it's a soundbox, it's got sounds and they're all in a box.

>Zane Lowe

Like every other self-respecting electronica-head in the universe, I have bought myself a Buddha Machine. It's a box with a speaker, a volume knob and a switch that alternates between various ambient loops. It brings to mind those radios you used to have before Zane Lowe was invented; it's small, it's plasticky, it has a knobtitude of knobs that seem to encourage the machine to emit fuzzy static... oh and you know you're going to step on it before you've had a chance to show it to your mates.

Except my snot green machine (you don't get to choose the colour) is now my best friend, so I shall not be mashing it with my size 11s. I have taken its picture. I'm already feeding it Felix. Tomorrow morning I'm going to wrap it in swaddling, stick it in a pram, and trundle it around the park whilst wearing pedal pushers and a Fruit Of The Loom T-shirt covered in baby sick.

>Zhang Jian

The Buddha Machine is brought to you not by the Children's Television Workshop but by a couple of Chinese chaps called Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, known jointly as experimental music duo FM3.

I love the idea that someone has thought of releasing an album, but instead of churning out the usual CD or vinyl formats, they decided to make their own format. Release your album on soundbox. It won't fit into your CD player, but it is small enough to fit just about everywhere else and, at just the right volume, provides a hypnotic soundtrack to your life.


Brian Eno has, according to the rumour-mill, bought eight of these darned things. He is the master of sending people to sleep with vast swathes of soothing loveliness. He once said "ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."

Well, Eno, your fuzzy dream has come true. The world has a new soundtrack. It is not the distant rush of the motorway nor the delighted laughter of children playing football in the street. It is a crappy little static-laden box that is more addictive than snorting fag ash. You heard it here first. Or not, as the case may well be.

Buy it here. And here. And here too.