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Layering Buddha

Robert Henke Audio CD


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MARK TEPPO's igloomag.com REVIEW :: 20 Nov 2006
By Pietro Da Sacco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
MARK TEPPO's igloomag.com REVIEW ::

Half of you know Robert Henke as Monolake; the other half know him as a software developer for Abelton. With the Buddha Machine, Henke has taken the loops and fed them into his virtual machinery. Layering Buddha contains ten tracks which are excerpts from longer (er, infinitely long, even) pieces. While the loops themselves barely add up to three minutes altogether, Henke's tracks swirl and morph and pulsate over five, six, and even eight minutes.

The first noticeable difference between Henke's tracks and the original loops is the depth of field on Layering Buddha. Using very sensitive recording equipment, Henke captured frequency ranges that are normally unheard by the human ear. After he passed the recordings into his computer equipment, these frequencies became readily visible. As he manipulated the loops, building long waveforms and exploring the granularity of the peaks, he was able to create deep, rumbling drones as well as tease out chattering particulate that sounds like both rain and the buzz of insects on a hot summer day.

The ten tracks (numbered sequentially -- "Layer 001," "Layer 002" and so on) are meant to be played as a single audio track but, like the Buddha Machine, can easily be randomized as well, furthering the argument that the loops herein are simply a framework for ambience. The true "experience" lies in how randomness colors the listener's aural landscape. Not so much "ambient trance" as "ambient chance."

Henke (as Monolake) is no stranger to lengthy ambient excursions. His work is filled with an attentive ear towards microscopic changes that inject organic life into gorgeous tonal drift. He seems a natural choice to produce a record exploring the exploded sounds hidden within the simple loops of the Buddha Machine, but with Layering Buddha, he surpasses expectations.

<< igloomag.com <<
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thanks for beating us to it, mr. henke...thanks a lot. 31 May 2007
By B. Krnc - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
i was standing within a foot or two from mr. henke when he probably bought one of those machines from FM3 at MUTEK that year. i may be wrong, but i think i may have been. i would never have thought to do this with that thing, but thank god someone did. and of course being robert henke what he did with it makes the end product better than the sum of it's parts. he's a true genius and this recording blew me away. if you like MONOLAKE GOBI or are hip to SIGNAL TO NOISE or STUDIES FOR THUNDER, then pick this up. and if you can get to montreal by june 1st, he's going to play this live at S.A.T. don't be late. it's going to be huge...
7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVEN NEWER MUSIC 29 Jan 2007
By Hank Napkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Music, like all forms of expression, reached a crisis point some years ago, even though most people wouldn't know it. Literature's stop-gap answer was post-modernism. The visual arts took any number of directions, finally settling on anything and everything. Film remains largely trapped as pure narrative, the hangover of simple storytelling. Music, due to being mostly a popular form as well as being such a disposable commodity in our culture, has chugged along pretty much as usual, animated by dead-end compositional tricks and escalating obessions with production "values" that in the end result in little more than another love song. Or another hate song. Or another ode to pick-up trucks.

The crisis is in all cases one of origination. And Henke is among the few who have developed significantly new methods for originating music. Layering Buddha is an excellent example, taking the intimations of "found sound" and musique concret techniques to a whole new territory of heuristically guided outcomes. The processes used to develop these pieces are highly utilitarian and result in a music of great presence, perfect praxis and, might as well say it, utility. It is a machine music of unimagined and organic beauty, unencumbered by the contortions of ever more elaborate compositional systems that have yet to escape traditions so long and so desperately in need of change. Great stuff, again.
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