Various Artists, Jukebox Buddha

Ben Thompson

By Ben Thompson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Sonic meditational aid gets remixed by some of experimental electronica’s finest

The Buddha Machine is a small, battery-powered contraption which acts as a sonic meditational aid — gently exuding its lo-fi balm through the public and private spaces of Asia. When Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian of Chinese duo FM3 decided to bend its entry-level technology to their own creative will, they kick-started a cult in experimental rock circles, and soon everyone from Brian Eno to Blixa Bargeld was singing the praises of this life-enhancing gadget. Jukebox Buddha puts together an entirely beguiling sequence of remixes by such illustrious devotees of the FM3 machine, as SunnO))), Adrian Sherwood and an uncharacterically blissed-out Bargeld. "Turn it on and forget about it" urges Jan Jelinek, Andrew Pelinek and Hanno Leichtmann's "BuddhaMachineCommercial." And the subliminal echo of those wah-wah pedal ads which used to turn up on old psychedelic compilations is entirely apt. By reasserting a nostalgic, pre-iPod ideal of how much music can properly be contained within a tiny box, Jukebox Buddha magically reanimates the '60's counter-cultural fantasy of Eastern mysticism.