It seems there’s an ongoing outbreak of Buddha Machine–inspired releases…
Only a few days ago I reported about the ‘Buddha Jukebox’, containing all sorts of remixes based on the original Buddha Machine samples. One day later I stumble across this Robert ‘Monolake’ Henke release. (One track of his CD is also featured on the Jukebox Buddha: check the sample track below).
Compared to the Jukebox Buddha, there’s quite a different feel. Whereas the Jukebox Buddha explores all possible surfaces of the Buddha Machine, Henke dives deep into the soul of it. He has magnified the sounds, enhanced the unheard artifacts and created a layered soundspace that has ZEN written all over it.
It’s astonishingly beautiful (and not unlike his last year’s ‘Signal to Noise’ release).
Conceptually it’s lightyears away from the original FM3 Buddha machine, which was deliberately lo-fi and poor sounding.
But that really doesn’t matter at all. The Buddha Machine now has its own spin off of peaceful sounding drone recordings – would FM3 ever have imagined that their lo-fi anti-Ipod machine would ultimately lead to a whole new sub-genre??
The original Buddha Machine sounds and the CD spinoffs will be featured in the FOLIO show early 2007.
About a year ago the chinese duo FM3 released the Buddha Machine. 9 short ambient loops, to be played through a lo-fi plastic player with a deliberate crappy speaker. The ultimate ‘Anti-Ipod’ concept created an instant hype, and even those that cannot stand ambient music fell in love with this device after holding it. (The Buddha Machine is still available, so get one while you can).
A full year later we hear the beloved samples again on the cd Jukebox Buddha, in compositions much more complex. Among the artists showing their respect are some well-known names: Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Adrian Sherwood/Doug Wimbish, Robert Henke, Thomas Fehlmann, Blixa Bargeld, Sun O))).
Impressing electronics for the more adventurous listener. Pay honour to the conceptual statement the Buddha Machine was/is.
Geir Jenssen, aka Biosphere, has conquered Tibet’s Cho Oyu –the sixth heighest mountain of the world. That, in itself, is a quite remarkable fact. Climbing mountains this high involves a lot of waiting, to accomodate to the changing circumstances – and at those moments the Minidisc recorder came in handy. The beautiful package of Cho Oyu 8102 m – Field Recordings from Tibet contains a diary of this journey, as well as said field recordings.
The fact that this is released under Geir’s own name and not as Biosphere, is a statement in itself. This is not meant as musical compositions, it’s a Tibet soundscape. Still, in Geir’s hands, the use of the samples has a distinct musical quality, not unlike the Biosphere projects. It’s a document in itself – you can almost feel the impressive landscape, and imagine quite clearly how it feels to slowly lose contact with civilization ( the shortwave radio recordings like the sample track here). And how hard the journey itself can be (Neighbours on oxygen).
It must be the fact that these sounds illustrate Geir’s personal struggle with the mountain that makes this CD much more impressive than the latest Biosphere release Dropsonde.
The sound of Goldmund (Keith Kenniff’s) piano on this record definitely reminds me of the early Harold Budd recording The Serpent (in Quicksilver).
The intimately recorded piano sound (including all pedal movements and instument cracking), the emotional melancholy themes…
Take, for example, this first track: ‘Unbraiding the Sun’. It’s only 1’33”, but put it on repeat and you’ve got a beautiful Satie-esque soundtrack.
The music of this short 6-track 7″ will haunt you much longer that the 10 minutes of music it consists.
If you record a room’s resonation, feed back the recording into that room and record it again, and do this a couple of time so that the feedback gets stronger and stronger, will the result reveal the ‘soul’ of that room?
And will something in this ‘soul’ reveal the fact that these rooms were once busy with people (church, gymnasium, swimming pool, auditorium) but are now completely desolated?
And will you be able to hear the fact that these rooms are all located in the Tchernobyl disaster area?
This, as you may guess, is not intended as ‘easy background ambient’. The result is not unlike some of Thomas Köner’s work – but it’s the concept that makes is almost frightening.
Someone mentioned this hilarious animation, entirely from album covers…it's a must-see for anyone that remembers the good old times of vinyl collection. I bet you see quite a few from your own collection (come on, admit it 😉 ). Just try to count them!
Here's the link (No ambient content, by the way)
A local independent production most of the time is not a good one to judge – most of these can be categorized as ‘sympathetic’ only. Imagine my surprise when I started listening to this CD an I could not leave my place until it got finished…only to hit the ‘replay’ button.
By definition, ‘ambient music’ cannot be ‘vocal music’ unless only wordless syllables are sung (by my traditional definition, that is). Recognisable text generally asks too much attention, and singing almost always requires chords that can be ‘remembered’ easily. Still – in the last year I have heard some great examples of music that defies this narrow definition. There are quite a few examples of “songs” that work very well with a clearly ambient, droney background. For a good example, listen to Wheely Down cover by the Uncertain Music Corps.
Tor Lundvall’s name has been a bit of a buzz in the ambient community recently. Contrary to what you may expect, he’s not living in Scandinavia but in New York. And he’s not only a musician but also a painter, as can be seen on his website http://www.torlundvall.com/.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: Michel Banabila’s music (a well-balanced fusion of electronic, ambient, jazz and ethnic music) deserves much more attention, and not only in Europe!
To get a good impression of his versatility, you can check the myspace accounts listed below. Or read the ‘Hilarious Expedition’ weblog entry earlier. Or just click the icon below to listen to ‘Oh No Uaredeo’ with Salar Asid on violin).