MARK TEPPO's igloomag.com REVIEW ::
Taking advantage of the enthusiasm within the artistic community surrounding the tiny Buddha Machines, Staubgold commissions Jukebox Buddha, a wide-ranging collection of Buddha Machine loop remixes. Robert Henke is here, of course, with a shortened version of "Layer 002" from his Layering Buddha record. Many of the remixers don't have the same obsessive fascination with the microscopic frequency changes of the loops and simply use the Buddha Machine sounds as inspiration or "ambience" in their tracks.
Wang Fan's "Xuanzhuan De Tuoluonidi," for example, has a female voice whispering Chinese over a cascading bed of shivering plasticene percussion. The Buddha Machine loop is background ambience, a hum like machinery in the next room. A growing cacophony of noise and compressed horns begins to threaten the waterfall of tinkling noises, and the ambience becomes an atmosphere of neo-noir amine over-stimulation. German nu-jazz group Kammerflimmer Kollektief create "Gammler, Zen + Hohe Berge," a composition of scattered digital noises, slow violin, plucked guitar and delicate percussion. Aki Onda's "The Buddha In New York" shrieks with guitar feedback, reverb, and an illicit cafeteria recording. The ambient sound of the tiny Buddha Machine is over-processed enough that it becomes a ringing loop of harmonics floating over the susurration of the patrons' voices. Adrian Sherwood and Doug Wimbish dub out the loops with "Karma-Cola," adding the processed voice of a New Age guru who intones inspirational platitudes at random moments while a wealth of dub inflections slowly bleed through the mix. Thomas Fehlmann's "Liquid Buddha" is reminiscent of Henke's endless waves, though Fehlmann's is drenched with watery reverb, rife with echo and delay. Minit's "Winged Life" is either sourced from living insects or, like Henke, Minit has managed built loops and samples that recreate the buzzing, chittering sound of insects. Waves of static are layered beneath the organic chaff and, like the wind stirred at sunrise, the noise growing louder and more insistent as the track progresses. The Sun City Girls squash the Buddha Machine loops beneath gulping samples, watery tones and a straining guitar sound that has been processed into the warbling voice of an alien instrument.
Blixa Bargeld's "Little Yellow" is genius. He's recorded a noisy bird outside his window, chirping and singing as if it hasn't a care in the world. In the background, so faint as to be almost indiscernible, you can hear the Buddha Machine on his desk. It's a lovely bit of art intersecting nature and nicely comments on how man-made ambience still pales in comparison to the natural sounds around us. Stephen O'Malley offers a Sun O))) interpretation which, at the outset, seems like an incongruous pairing, but O'Malley eases up on the Thunder Echo Pedal in "BP//Simple." Surprisingly, the distaff pairing of O'Malley's sonorous guitar work and the Buddha Machine's delicate ambience is a duet of some tenderness, an organic revolution and evolution of sound wherein the dark and the light play well together.
Jukebox Buddha, by it's very nature, isn't as sublimely evocative as Henke's Layering Buddha. But the disparate directions taken by each artist make the compilation still an easy purchase. Recommended.
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