In an age where bands and musicians look for new ways of releasing music, China-based band FM3 has been creating Buddha Machines, simple loopers based on cheap transistor devices with recorded prayers found at Chinese Buddhist temples. The band sampled nine drones, varying from two seconds to 42 seconds, which repeat endlessly in the listener’s ear until the “track” is switched to the next drone (or the two AA batteries run out).
I use my three FM3 Buddha Machines (all 2nd Generation models) to creates ambient soundscapes in my office while I work. I also use them to create Mid Eastern tambor-like drones for playing ragas on my cigar box guitar. (see video below). The units look like cheap little transistor radios, but they’re so freakin’ cool in their simplicity and uniqueness. I love ‘em.
Now FM3 has introduced a third generation Buddha box called the “Chan Fang”. Their website describes the new music:
Chan Fang, which translates as “Zen Room,” sees FM3 swap drones and tones from their first two Buddha releases for unadulterated classical loops.
All tracks were composed and performed on the Qin, a seven-string zither revered as the grand-daddy of Chinese instruments. Deep sonorous tuning and complex harmonic overtones give the Qin a contemplative and soothing voice.
Turn on Chan Fang and soundtrack your life. Tweak the pitch to match your mood. Pair it with another Buddha Machine for a pocket orchestra to enlighten your morning commute, long bath, thinking, reading, relaxing, romancing…
Video: Shane Speal – “Unfinished Improv for Cigar Box Guitar and Three FM3 Buddha Machines”