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Buddha Machine Variations No. 9 (Choral Void)

Video via my YouTube channel, youtube.com/disquiet

There have been multiple generations of the Buddha Machine from the duo FM3 (comprised of Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian). The 2017 version was a collaboration between FM3 and composer Philip Glass on the occasion of the maverick minimalist’s 80th birthday. That device had various samples of Glass’ music, including organ and, heard here, voice. The Buddha Machines all consist of short prerecorded loops that play on repeat. The choral loop on the Glass Buddha, as it were, has a dramatic gap between the repeats. Here I use twin delays to fill the choral void. I tried granular processing first, but the result was too artificial for what I was after. Instead, I here combine the unaltered audio with two versions, both delayed via the ER-301 (the large module on the bottom left). There are three strands coming through the mixer to the final output. The second strand, following the unaltered one, is the audio of the main strand set to delay by about 10 seconds, and from that delay only a narrow band, toward the high end of the spectrum (let’s call it the alto line), actually makes it to the mixer. The third strand takes another narrow band of the spectrum (let’s call it the baritone line), and sends that back to the ER-301, where it is delayed even further, about another 6 seconds, roughly. In addition, some slow-ish and flat-ish LFOs (from the Batumi, via the SPO) are continuously (and out of sync) modulating the volume of the alto and baritone lines, giving it an ebb and flow, a sense of call and response, that wasn’t in the original source material.

Video originally posted at youtube.com. There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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