Jukebox Buddha

A word of explanation: Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian came up with the idea of selling a version of the machine used in Buddhist temples to assist prayer.

 

Jukebox Buddha

http://www.konkurrent.nl/  

 

A word of explanation: Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian came up with the idea of selling a version of the machine used in Buddhist temples to assist prayer. This sounds like flapdoodle to me, but stick with it. They created the Buddha Machine – a simple device that contains nine ambient loops that can be manipulated (in a very basic way) by the listener. The machine has been a big hit. So big, in fact, that we now have the Jukebox Buddha album featuring all your favourite ambient/drone artists. Well, some of them, anyway.

 

The album kicks off with a track by Wang Fan. A female voice speaks over a low drone. There is tinkling percussion and the sound of waves in the background. Over time the drone expands and beats emerge. It's ambient in one sense, but there is something also involving and overpowering in another. The Kammerflimmer Kollektief produce a pleasant, beaty track embellished by what sounds like cello and keyboards. Aki Onda's The Buddha in New York is great. It opens darkly with a heavy drone and the sound of a frightened horse. There are field recordings, presumably of people in New York. Adrian Sherwood produces something predictably dubby whilst Blixa Bargeld's track Little Yellow is simply a minute of birdsong. The strongest tracks here are the most minimal. Thomas Fehlmann's Liquid Buddha and Robert Henke's Layer 02 both involve deep-sea ambient drones. There are virtually no embellishments and the result is a kind of gothic William Basinski. Fonal mainman Es produces a track that at one point sounds like the Clangers being sucked into a vacuum. Sunn0)))'s BP//Simple is a ten minute drone and, were it not for their collaboration with Boris, would constitute their most placid release.

 

And so we go on. All of the tracks drift but only a few allow the listener to drift off. The clunking BuddhaMachineCommercial aside this is a uniformly strong album with, one suspects, hidden depths.

 

Words: Chris Dawson.