The Best X-mas Present Ever
Being in San Fransisco for a brief six months, Doug/Blonee/Middle Bro, brought few things back that were worthwhile besides stories about medical marijuana and the original full time innovator, Ben (a.k.a. Grandpa), and how the two interact. He did however spend plenty of time(and money)at Aquarius Records where he purchased the most self-less X-mas present ever for Adam/Huffy/Little Bro and myself. Of course he stashed a Buddha Machine for himself first but gave each of us one to treasure for a lifetime.
For those unfamiliar the Buddha Machine is a small plastic box, the size of a cigarette pack, with one speaker, and containing nine perpetual loops (my included battery has yet to die) that can be switched at random with a toggle at the top. The only other features are a volume wheel and an audio out plug. Sounds almost like a Family Dollar Ipod, but the ghostly atmospheres packed inside are close to magic. By themselves the loops are hypnotic, almost spiritual, after a length of time textures begin to appear, blow it through stereo speakers or a Marshall and the loops distort, engulf. As a piece of home entertainment the Buddha Machine is what you make it -- mood sound for meditation or, played somewhere in the room along with any competent psychedelic record it adds another intoxicating dimension. Perfect with anything by the Boredoms, Faust,
Grateful Dead, etc. etc. etc. There's a reason Brian Eno and Sir Richard Bishop both have bought dozens of these for live shows and experimentation. As a musical instrument, FM3 (the Chinese electronic duo who invented the thing) have made their art a tool that goes beyond the simple series of 15 second tones, it's being used in colorfully different ways. But they've recorded much more than this immortal artifact, and now playing SXSW I'm intrigued as to what they can accomplish with a live hour of music.