FM3: Buddha Machine III - Chan Fang

FM3's third iteration in its Buddha Machine series—the first appeared in 2005—doesn't tamper too radically with the formula of its predecessors, which is a perfectly understandable move, given how enthusiastically the first two were received (50,000 units—and counting—sold, plus praise from figures such as Brian Eno and Daft Punk). This time around, Beijing duo Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian packaged four extended-play loops (“Chun,” “Qiu,” “Xia,” and “Dong”) into the transluscent plastic box (available in five colours: red, blue, black, clear, and green) and composed the machine's soothing melodic figures using the Qin, a Chinese seven-string zither. Formally called The Buddha Machine III – Chang Fang (“Zen Room”), the device's simple, time-slowing loops are eminently capable of inducing a peaceful and contemplative state in the receptive listener. Options are kept to the bare minimum, the primary one being a pitch wheel that allows for customized tweaking. As would be confirmed by anyone who's been exposed to it, the Buddha Machine is the perfect little device to have quietly playing on your desktop while you're working and in desperate need of a psychic massage.

March 2011