Boomkat Product Review:
FM3's Buddha Machine caused something of a stir on its release and the momentum hasn't really stopped since. Boomkat's biggest selling item ever (!) it has captured the imagination of countless music fans worldwide with its fiendishly simple concept - nine switchable loops of drifting ambience degraded thanks to the poor circuitry and small speaker size. What you end up with is a kind of DIY version of William Basinski's 'Disintegration Loops'; degraded ambient bliss in the best possible sense. Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian (aka FM3) struck gold when they realised that a machine used in Buddhist temples to assist prayer could be transposed into the lives of music fans everywhere, and now it's time for some of their friends and admirers to show their appreciation by reworking those timeless loops. And they've certainly got the right sort of admirers, we've got offerings here from Robert Henke, Blixa Bargeld (of Einsturzende Neubauten), Thomas Fehlmann, Sunn O))), Es, Alog, Gudrun Gut, Jan Jelinek, Mapstation, the Sun City Girls and more and what's even more shocking is that there isn't a dull moment on the disc. Hard to believe in these post-electronica times but what FM3 have managed to do is piece together a remix album that doesn't make you want to throw the cd out of the window in a blind rage. Longtime FM3 collaborator Wang Fan starts the collection off fabulously with a deliriously dense drone piece, layering the original Buddha machine loops over field recordings that make me feel like I'm in a swamp waiting for the serial killer to return and chop me to bits. It's muggy and oppressive but at the same time strangely beautiful, and sets the tone appropriately for the rest of the album. Elsewhere we're treated to a typically involving psychedelic session from Fonal Records mainman Sami Sänpäkkilä under his Es moniker. Those of you who found yourselves addicted to the simply fabulous 'Sateenkaarisuudelma' album are bound to find this track just as arresting! Interestingly, the album's finest moment comes from those harbingers of doom themselves Sunn O))), who confound all expectations with an absolutely gorgeous and quite worryingly good natured ten-minute slice of guitar fuelled ambience. There's no Norwegian paganism here, and we end up with possibly the softest thing the duo have ever put their cursed names to. Ending quite marvelously on a track from the pranksters of world music the Sun City Girls, we come to the eclectic close of an unexpectedly epic journey. Who would have thought nine short loops could end up being this important? Utterly essential.