Beijing, China: 2005
9.5 x 6 x 2.5 cm.
A small, self-contained playback device housing a series of musical loops which can be played via the integrated speaker or mini-jack. Based in Beijing, the ambient electronic duo FM3 (Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian) released the Buddha Machine (or Buddha Box) at the beginning of the era when digital music sales began to overtake physical releases. Sales of the Buddha Machine skyrocketed after reports that Brian Eno had bought eight of them.
"The Buddha Machine is a small, plastic box that comes in six different colors and inside the box are loops that [the] band made over the last six years that we edited down, compressed into six-bit audio, and burned onto a chip that’s at the heart of this box. [It’s] about the size of a cigarette pack and it also contains a speaker, much like the transistor radios that we grew up with in the seventies before digital media became the new wave. But you turn on the box with two AA batteries inside, it’s powered, and the loops start to play, so essentially it’s a portable, go-anywhere, loop-playing sound system."
- Christiaan Virant