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In 2005 the Beijing-based duo of Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian released their first 'Buddha Machine' loop box, a quirky pocket sound system that propelled sound art into the consumer mainstream.
Over the past 12 years, they have released more than 6 different versions of their pioneering loop device, including collaborations with artists as diverse as industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle and American composer Philip Glass.
The original unit was long sold-out and in high demand among collectors. This 2017 edition of the Buddha Machine features the original loops in all their 8-bit Lo-Fi glory and comes in 4 soft-tone colours: red, blue, green and orange.
Since the beginnings of the Buddha Machine our motto has been "Soft Sound, Happy Life."
This re-issue of the original soundbox aims to be a calming, gentle voice for stressful, noisy times. The machine is designed to be played softly, at low volumes, allowing the loops to mix with the background sounds of your life and create a feeling of calm and ease.
The Buddha Machine is a truly unique musical device that prefers to sit in the background, quietly and gently working its sonic magic.
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- Chinese characters are laser cut acrylic
- Earrings are silver
- Necklace cord is plastic
The chinese characters are the words "ting" for "listen" and "shuo" for "speak"
Includes free download of FM3 - Ting Shuo album
The Buddha Machine was never hermetically sealed. You could break into it, and with a smattering of audio and electrical knowledge work out how the thing worked.
What you could not do however was replicate the process that led to its manufacture and therein lay the secret beyond the sounds. Now despite being virtually omnipresent over the last decade via their world-ruling Buddha Machine it must come as a surprise that FM3, Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, have released no original music together on CD format for almost ten years.
"Ting Shuo" comes with a title of typical Chinese wordplay, literally translated it could mean "listening speaking" but the actual colloquial Mandarin understanding would be "heard of" or maybe "known about"; in other words many Chinese have heard about FM3 through their global reputation but few have heard their music. FM3's plan of hiding sonically and physically in plain sight is finally put to rest by this new set of audio pieces which, although fully conceived and worked as a conventional album, are easily related back to the loops that inhabit all the many versions of the Buddha Machine.
The duo will soon be on tour in the East and maybe next year in the West to bring this new set of quiet music to audiences who will need to listen hard.
Steve Barker, BBC radio host and columnist for Wire magazine
1. San Lang
2. Ting Shuo
3. Dui Xiang
4. Hei Guan
5. Fo Wu
6. Yi Gui
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Christiaan Virant, creator of the legendary Buddha Machine, finally escapes his box of loops with this nine-track CD of contemplative, classically-inspired tunes.
Weaving instruments from East and West into a web of pulsing, moody music, Virant delivers a highly-listenable disk that rewards repeated visits to his ambient wonderland. Moving between China and Europe has allowed Virant a continuous access and appreciation of musical developments across the continents.
Whilst still deeply Zen in mood and tone, the tunes here interweave minimal textures through drone and drift. Beats move in soft boom or trippy pulsing glide rather than the rigourous edgy engine of techno.
Classical-trained Virant pays due homage to structure, drama and effect whilst completely understanding that, as Lou Reed once so accurately remarked, "repetition is antiglop".
Devotees of the Buddha Machine will treasure the connects and departures. Steve Barker, BBC radio host and columnist for Wire magazine.
1. Title Sequence
2. River Pearl
3. Monkey Mind
4. Fistful Of Buddha
5. Grey Zone
6. Metropolis Waltz
7. Do Better
9. Yuan Yi
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HeXieFu comes as a worldwide limited edition of 2000 copies featuring a re-usable and re-sealable gold foil package, commemorative FM3 coin, a series of individually numbered FM3 'VIP' cards and gold metallic FM3 sticker.
As a response to China's astonishing economic progress over the last ten years its often claimed that the country still lacks a "global brand". Well, it may not have the same visibility as Coke or Nike just yet, but in the past few years the FM3 Buddha Machine has become a "lifestyle product" of choice throughout the world. From its humble origins, the Buddha launched with a happy synchronicity coinciding with early patronages from Mr. Ambient, Brian Eno, and the wildly enthusiastic Alan Bishop of Seattle's ground-breaking Sublime Frequencies organisation.
Progress was rapid as the Buddha Machine moved through into more advanced versions, even a hyper-rare edition made of Pu'er tea. It became the meditative tool of choice amongst the intercontinental super-hip and a ceremonial plaything for those in the know.
Now co-conspirators Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian have brought their baby back home opening up its embedded loops for remix, re-making and reversioning by the cream of China's contemporary musicians, from their old friend superstar Dou Wei, to the 8bit wunderkind Sulumi aka Sun Dawei through to the legendary Huan Qing, Sichuanese instrument-maker, field recordist and maverick musician. The result is a delightful kaleidoscope of what is best in the approach of Chinese musicians today, the notion of re-use of elements is integral to the Chinese culture and this shines through in this marvellous new collection.
(Steve Barker - BBC On the Wire & The Wire magazine) HeXieFu comes as a worldwide limited edition of 2000 copies featuring a re-usable and re-sealable gold foil package, commemorative FM3 coin, a series of individually numbered FM3 "VIP" cards and gold metallic FM3 sticker.The packing, design and even name of HeXieFu continue FM3's guiding design principle of using items from our daily life and repurposing them for the music and art world. HeXie means "Harmony" and Fu is one of the most used characters in the Chinese vocabulary.
It means "good fortune" or luck" and Fu stickers are placed on doors and walls across the land during the Chinese Lunar New Year. The gold foil packaging is normally used for storing one of China's greatest joys: Oolong tea.
Our commemorative coins are cast in metal from the very same factory that makes belt buckles, rings, necklaces and other metal items for the world's leading fashion labels. Your coin could have been a Gucci! And our plastic, members-only "VIP" cards - ubiquitous in status-concious modern China- pay tribute to the colours of the original Buddha Machines.
1. Zi Yue - BenSheng
2. Top Floor Circus - Faster and Faster
3. Huang Jin ' TongYanJuGu
4. Luo Nanli (B6) ' YuQiuYu
5. Da Wang Gang - CaiShenMen
6. Walnut Room ' JieXie
7. Li Jianhong-Buddha Machine in Li Family Village
8. Dou Wei ' HeWuTi
9. Wan Xiaoli-TianLiangHaoGeQiu
10. Sun Dawei (Sulumi) ' ChuYuLiXing
11. Huan Qing - GuangWu Road #108
12. Zhang Quan - LiuShengHuo
13. Lim Giong ' ShengYiLe
14. Li Daiguo and Liang Yiyuan - TongZhi, QingWen, Ni ZheJian JiaSha Na'er MaiDe?
15. Du Wei - Lotus Sleeper