Buddha Machine: The $23 digital music box

Ektopia posts about the Buddha Machine, a transistor radio-sized device with a loudspeaker which plays ambient-ish music by the band FM3. It's very cool for $23, but seems to be just an audio playback device. I'm sure this idea will develop to the point where people can release boxes that generate music by themselves, within the parameters set by the artist. That was the idea behind the Chiclet DSP music box.

i bought one of these at mutek last summer and i love it. makes a great gift for your significant other too...
i've ordered it one week ago, and even before that, when i saw it in the wire for the 1st time, i wanted to email you...but it never happened :((


UK and EU people can order it from www.staalplaat.com
Two decades ago, a friend called to ask if I'd bought "the new Eno box." He meant a compilation, but I first thought he was talking about something like this gizmo.

As I age, I find life slowly catches up with my mistakes.
i hear that they are now distributed in the uk by baked goods... and rough trade in london has a few sets of the coloured ones...
have you seen quiet american's serendipity machine?


its a suitcase with earphones! I want one!
And even the rendering is so cool, I've got it as my desktop display. My workmates know I'm into electronics but they're perplexed why someone would "..put a buddha in an AM pocket radio?..."
Maybe this is dumb question, but... Is there really a tiny buddha statue in it, or is that just a stylistic flourish in the line drawing? If there really is one, that you never see but just 'know' is there, that is radically cool.

This would seem to be a hack of a popular Buddhist accessory, a small portable device to carry with you that when activated plays a musical chant for you to pray along with, such as the refuge prayer. You can get them in Chinatown.

I expect, without actually looking into it, that its either a direct hack or they're having them made in China by an appropriately set up factory. So that's prolly splains the name.

As to whether this one actually has a tiny little plastic Buddha inside it, well we can only hope.

The post about the Eno box is great, I think kindred creative minds of that period were prone to having thoughts like that. It also makes me think of Laurie Anderson on setting foot inside a recording studio for the first time, and seeing all the sliders on the console imagines they are used to move tracks forward and backward in time.


These Buddha Machines seem to be made very cheaply. Mine didn't even last one day. The battery compartment stopped working completely so I couldn't take it with me anywhere. I tried to plug it in after that. The DC plug connection is very bad so I couldn't move the box or else it would shut off. I really like all of the music. The loops are so serene and the music quality is very lo-fi and haunting. I just hope this quality isn't representative of all of them when I get it exchanged.
I don't get why people are willing to pay $23 for loops of music that are somewhat irritating. huh?
i own 6 different buddha machines and havent had any problems with quality. even after repeated dropping it on the floor. i guess they are pretty lo-fi and i guess that either makes them more hardy cos no moving parts, or more susceptible to damage cos they are so simple!

regardless, i dont find the music irritating at all... in fact, its quite soothing... like any recorded music, its all in the ear of the beholder!
buddha machine ROCKS! i love my buddha!
Just got my orange Buddha Machine yesterday. It is brilliant. So far, I've grown quite addicted to two of the loops (which look to be available on FM3's site if you're willing to click on Chinese ideograms) and have a feeling it's only a matter of time before I wind up loving the others. I could see that there might be quality control issues because it really is like a $2 radio, but mine works fine. When I first heard of it, it reminded me of the boxed set that Die Todliche Doris put out in the 1980s - the little record player that goes into dolls along with 6 (8?) tiny vinyl disks (though I suspect the sound on those was far from ambient). I predict we'll see many more items like this in the future.
they come in six different colors. music inside is the same, but its nice to have the different colors and put them in different parts of the house and just let them go...
ahh...i finally got my buddha machine today. I heard about the machine a few months ago: A friend of mine that i used to work with at a record shoppe showed it to me. he had a green one. brilliant! Then, I read an article with the lead singer of Low, and it was mentioned. So, I googled it, read up, and ordered one from Forced Exposure. I saw Low a few weeks later. During the Encore, they were taking requests, and someone yelled out "Buddha Machine!" And of course Alan went into his suitcase, pulled it out, held it up to the mike for a minute, and we all applauded. All the people around me asked what the hell it was. All I said was, I have one coming.

Sadly, mine is hot pink! Guess I'll keep trying! I'm driving everyone in my office crazy with it.

The best idea I've had in the 3 hours since I got it - I went into the bathroom, into one of the stalls, and let it play. Great acoustics, and at least 3 people came in and out while I was there. I'm sure they are very confused.
hi everyone, give me karma...where can i find one of these Buddha Machines in Toronto, ontario.
You can buy the Buddha Machine in Toronto at Soundscapes on College St - $29.99
Anyone know where I can get one in the San Francisco Bay Area? I'm loathe to put credit card information into yet another site just to get one item.
I have 5. I was ashamed of my pink one too until I turned on a blacklight! I got one in a different box. all rest blue, one green... any significance?
For Toronto buyers I just read it is available at Soundscapes, 572 College St, Tel 416.537.1620
San Fran? I ust ordered one from Aquarius records. Got the email sayin' they have 'em in stock, so...

Though I too was hoping for an Eno-esque generative music machine. How damn hard is it to make a Koan box?

I loved my buddha machine so much I decided to make a website for it. Please check out www.buddha-machine.com I hope to be able to stock them soon. The site is to be updated frequently so any suggestions please feel free to contact me.

maybe I missed it,But I know there's a pyshical store in NYC you can buy it.
Does anyone know
Amoeba Music carries or at least carried them for a while.

I bought mine there last December.
yeah, i got one of these about a year ago... read the article in arthur where alan bishop talked about how there is a buddha inside.

i opened mine up and there was no buddha, and the thing fell apart (i was not rough, i think they must have used cheap solder). when i tried to resolder one wire, another one would fall off.

while these things are a really wonderful idea, and a cool addition to your music collection ("why is that soap sitting on your cd shelf?"), they are absolute pieces of crap, and don't come with the buddhas which are promised therein.

and alan bishop said his was smoking a cigarette...
Post a Comment

<< Home
Music Thing on Twitter
    follow MT on Twitter

    Music Thing Hits:
    Music Thing Heroes:
    Music Thing Friends:
    My music gear for sale
    DIY Modular Synth
    Matrix Synth
    Create Digital Music
    Analog Industries
    Boing Boing Gadgets
    London Video Production
    Wire to the Ear
    Palm Sounds
    Noise Addicts
    Retro Thing
    Analogue Haven
    Music Thing Massive
    About Music Thing:
    Send tips to Music Thing
    About this site
    Music Thing Massive
    RSS Feeds

    Problem with the ads?
    Please let me know