The Buddha Machine
The Buddha Machine looks like an old-school transistor radio and plays nine loops of drone-y, ambient sounds from its built-in speaker. Created by Beijing-based musicians FM3, the Buddha Machine comes in seven colors and three loop sets, for a total of 21 possible combinations. Fans of the Buddha Machine include Brian Eno, Sunn O))) and Monolake.
Some folks put several Buddha Machines together for “buddha boxing,” setting the boxes at different volumes and pitches to create random soundscapes. Other than on/off and a switch to cycle thru the loops, the only other controls on a Buddha Machine are pitch and an 1/8″ jack.
Buddha Machines have an antecedent: electric boxes sold at temples that play endless loops of sutras. Check out this buddha boxing free for all with the Buddha Machine, a Tibetan sutra box, and a Taiwanese sutra box.
I am by no means “on time” with this post: the first Buddha Machines went into production in 2007. Appearantly the 500 per day production schedule of Buddha Machines is barely enough to keep up with demand! It’s probably the largest selling drone “album” ever, and has started an underground interest in sutra boxes, electronic gadgets sold at Buddhist temples that play endless sutra loops.