Music Reviews

Artist: Christiaan Virant (@)
Title: Fistful of Buddha
Format: CD
Label: CVMK
Rated: *****
Buddha Machine's 9 loops maybe didn't bring the Enlightenement to its fetishistic owners, but I'm pretty sure that many fans of that nice coloured plastic music-box mulishly tried to find their way to some Nirvana by it and some of them poured those entrancing or relaxing tunes into more or less personal ambient-oriented tracks in order to share their toytronic-driven Samadhi. Drawing on that fad, some devotee could have surmise one of its inventor, the imaginative Hong Kong-born musician Christiaan Virant, who developed that nice loop device together with his music partner Zhang Jian in 2005 and tried for an encore by an industrial version - the Gristleism loop device! - together with Throbbing Gristle in 2009 found a job as a road worker for the maintenance of the noble eightfold path. The reputation he gained for that somehow bizarre object might eclipse Virant's musical skills and creativity, so that this self-released album, wisely titled "Fistful of Buddha", has been supposedly intended for giving evidence of them. Even if the general sound has a strong influence of those Zen jujus, the classical training and the connection with "western" musical aspects such as some transitional procedures, the outline of a structure and a predominant sense of drama by Mister Virant astonishingly filters through the nine tracks (I think the number of tracks is not casual at all...) of this album, which shows a remarkable variety. Besides ruminative low-paced and beatless tracks such as "Monkey Mind", "Crickets" or "Grey Zone", the highest stylistical peaks have been reached when Christiaan intentionally amalgamates Western and Eastern traditions: you could think about a Vietnamese declension of some icy gothic-ambient stuff when listening to "River Pearl", two vivid slanting eyes behind Venetian masks on "Metropolis Waltz", a special concentrate of Klaus Schulze's stuff and 70ies sequencers for the mp3 players of levitating gurus on the initial "Title Sequence" or on the title-track, which vaguely resembles some stuff by Ron Rothfield's The Infinity Project, or hypertechnological ashram while listening to the final breathing track "Yuan Yi". Spellbinding sonic juice.

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