Jukebox Buddha


Fifteen tracks made with the FM3 Buddha Machine. Featuring exclusive contributions by Adrian Sherwood and Doug Wimbish, Blixa Bargeld, SunnO))), Thomas Fehlmann, Sun City Girls, Gudrun Gut, Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Jan Jelinek/Andrew Pekler/Hanno Leichtmann, Mapstation, Aki Onda, Robert Henke, Es, Alog, Minit and Wang Fan. It was about three years ago whilst loafing in one of Beijing's finer foot massage joints that Christiaan Virant, the other half of Chinese duo FM3 to Zhang Jian, began to riff mutation fantasies as applied to the Buddha Machine. The Buddha Machine is a literal translation from Mandarin for the small plastic box, driven by two double 'A' batteries, that grinds out low-fi looped sutra variants across the whole of China and South East Asia. The original concept was to locate the nest, infect the breeding process with the new strain of meditative sonics developed by FM3 over the previous couple of years, lop off a hundred or so clones for promotion purposes and bounce off the impact with a few European gigs. That idea died as soon as the little babies fell into the hands of Brian Eno, a rare musical expeditionary from the far West visiting China, and the notorious Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls. Only just over twelve months later the little beggar polls 88 thousand pages on Google (the number 8 is the luckiest number in China) and has a dedicated My Space page almost as amusing as the soundbox itself when only the Pope is missing from its fanbase! On Jukebox Buddha, the first chapter of Buddha version, disciples of many levels stretch, compress, reconfigure, rub and dust, and generally fuck around with the nine floating loops clipped out from FM3's confrontational world of quiet. Moving straight to level four, the entry from Einsturzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld finds the Beijing resident submitting to sweeter harmonies than those with which he is traditionally associated, even eschewing voice in a move that could free him from the eternal cycle of rebirth. Level two devotee Wang Fan, longtime associate of FM3, builds environmentally-friendly filigrees of sound while new initiates Sherwood and Wimbish immediately recognize the key importance of bass to the Buddha. A true Zen moment is struck by the shameless humor of Jan Jelinek, Andrew Pekler and Hanno Leichtmann's commercial but Robert Henke (Monolake) takes a more devotional approach with a lift from his new album of droneage based entirely on loops from the Buddha Machine. Although Mapstation sound like Mapstation, in an act of submission Thomas Fehlmann bucks the beat and builds floating layers of naked vocal. The Sun City Girls prove they have visited more temples in the East than any other Westerner, and SunnO))) arrive from a different dimension with incomparable restraint. In fact, the absence of self indulgence pervades many of these contributions, as with Minit whose contribution is the only one to actually sound like FM3 but none more so than Gudrun Gut's analysis of the creative process employed in producing the track she has offered here.