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.
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