44-Buddha Machine 2.0 remix

“Buddha 2.0 remix (v.2)”
(7:23) from “Songs in Work 2009”
©2009 tim p scott
(click (triangle) to play)

Here’s a later (29 Apr 2009) cut at a remix of the Buddha Machine version 2.0 loop set. Once you click on the play control on the gadget, give it a few seconds to start. It’s also not terribly loud, so if you’re in a noisy environment you may have to turn up your computer’s volume a bit.

A little further down on this page I give some details as to how I produced it.

What’s a Buddha Machine?

If you haven’t heard about the “Buddha Machine“, click on the link and be amazed.

If you’re too lazy to go there; in a nutshell it’s a little plastic box about the size of a transistor radio (ha! who remembers those?!). It has built into it several short sound loops that repeat endlessly. It sounds like some kind of torture device, but the producers (FM3) have carefully created the loops so that they are soothing and aleatoric.

They have also generously provided the loops for download for people to use in their own work. I started working on a piece based on them a few weeks ago. It’s hard to nail down a final arrangement, due to the quasi-ambient nature of it, but I will try to get something finished soon and make it available to hear here.

Oh, incidentally: they released a “2.0” version in late 2008. Here is a writeup, I forget where I got it, which discusses the loops from the “1.0” version in some detail. (Sorry it’s not attributed yet, once I dig up its source I’ll make it right.)

“Secrets of the Buddha Machine”

(Yes, it’s in “.odt” (Open Document) format…it’s a wordpress thing. See this page for info about OpenOffice which is a pretty cool thing.)

Available on bandcamp too

As of Jun 27, this track can also be streamed or downloaded from the tim p scott page at bandcamp; http://tim-p-scott.bandcamp.com/album/work-in-progress-2009

Production Notes

The track was assembled in Ableton Live 7.0.10. All the audio components I used are either license free or shareable under Creative Commons licenses. I’m not really trying to make a point, except that it’s wonderful that people make content available for free. In the early days, you had to pay through the nose for sample and loop libraries that were any good. Although I paid (big $) for Ableton Live, since it’s my favorite tool, there are plenty of other ways to assemble music for cheap or free.

I started with the set of downloaded loops that FM3 graciously provided under a Creative Commons license.

Here’s the link to the zip file which contains them (it’s in MP3 format so it’s not too huge): http://www.fm3buddhamachine.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2008_20xx_images/buddhamachine2mp3.zip

The version of the Creative Commons license they are distributed under, which affects the status of my “remix” is “by-nc-sa”, which is explained here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

Basically, I used all the loops in the archive except one, which I couldn’t get to fit anywhere.

In addition, I used a couple other free things. On another page on this site I discuss the “One Laptop Per Child” (OLPC) free sample set. I used a sample from composer Risto Holopainen’s collection: http://www.archive.org/details/RistoHolopainen

Robert Henke’s Layering Buddha

Robert Henke is best known as one of the geniuses behind the essential Ableton Live music production software. But he is a very prolific composer and performer as well, who took the loops from the Buddha Machine and also created his own works from them. Here’s an excerpt from his description of these:

I wanted to dive deeper into that experience and took the sounds from a single buddha machine, recorded them with high quality converters to capture all details of that rough sound and applied all kinds of transformations to it. And, most important, by using the computer I was able to layer a lot of those treatments, resulting in very dense breathing atmospheres. In some of my layers the equivalent of a few 100.000 machines do run at the same time.

I presume from the last sentence he means what we in the US would write “100,000 machines run at the same time.” But you should go to his site and read the complete information. He also makes available one hour stereo mp3s of performances he gave of the piece. Live, he performed it on 6 channel surround systems but the downloadable files are stereo.

You say you like this concept of heavy processing of simple material, but don’t want to buy a Buddha Machine? You can find 20 – 60 second snippets of ambient recordings, parts of tunes, etc., on free sound archives like OLPC, freesound, or perhaps just record yourself humming a simple tune using the mic from a cell phone, and if you can’t afford Live, process it in something like Reaper.

Page#44 / last modified 2010 aug