This Buddha Machine is Just Delightfully Tacky!

Called “Beautifully useless” by the New York Times, the Buddha Machine is an interesting yet simple product, which reminds us of a less complicated time by defying the current convention of sleek. It just snubs the Cult of Mac by giving the bird to everything that the iPod represents and I could not have done it any better!

Created by FM3, an alternative China based Electronica band, this product is a:

“The Buddha Machine is a little plastic box that plays music.
Specifically, FM3 constructed nine drones, varying from two seconds to 42 seconds, which repeat endlessly in the listener’s ear until the “track” is switched to the next drone (or the two AA batteries run out).
The machine has its own built-in speaker, in case one would like to fill a room with the drones, but there is also a headphone jack for more personal meditative experiences. There’s a switch on the side that allows for traversal of the tracks, and a DC jack (though an adapter is not included) for those who would like the Buddha Machine experience be truly endless.
In a way, it’s like the cheapest pre-loaded IPod you’ll ever be able to buy.” ~Source

Did you see that little buddha gremlin hiding in the device? Hmm so thats how it works, very clever!

Bravo! I’m extremely impressed and it comes at a time where designers from Asia are starting to make their mark. Asia really needs more of such alternative products that represents a clever reflection or distillation of our own Asian culture. It seems this product was inspired by similar “drones” were use in the past to relax a stressed-out Emperor of China.

At its heart, however, the Buddha Machine is actually a counterargument to the onset of the downloading age. For one, the entire point of the release is to have the little box.

I also like how that it is a complete 180 degree turn to what is commonly accepted as a personal digital entertainment product, especially when it comes to its looks. It has no on board memory, or high-res display, or rechargeable battery. Furthermore with all the short music tracks built in, selectable by its analogue dial, it could easily be overlooked as a cheap FM radio with a lousy speaker. However with such a clever twist in its usage of the repeating “drones” the product’s use of its form suddenly becomes an ironic statement rather than being a tacky cheap “China product”. I’m sorry but I now have to go and get one.
Quotes and review source from Popmatters.
Images from the FM3 Site
Via: 43 Folders

  • gogo

    March 7, 2007 at 10:03 pm Reply

    I have an exact same design of the machine at since 5 yrs ago.They are claiming they designed it?

  • gogo

    March 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm Reply

    Q: Did this have any influence on the look of the Buddha Machine?
    A: Oh yeah! Most people refuse to believe it, but we designed the Buddha Machine just minutes before deadline. We had a few ideas about what we wanted it to look like, but we kept putting off a decision until about 4pm on the day before production was to begin. So I went over to Zhang’s, we sketched a really rough drawing and faxed it to our factory. The final “design process” took about 8 minutes. One of our t-shirts has an image of that sketch. It’s pretty crude.

  • Design Translator

    February 28, 2007 at 5:45 pm Reply

    Hmm, now that is interesting. Funny how its pretty popular in the west when its actually all about something not too nice.

  • box

    February 28, 2007 at 5:09 pm Reply

    I think this is used alot at funerals. i remember the one at my grandads funeral two years ago.
    we had to stay awake throughout the night as part of the ritual and this chant keep us company all night long.
    it chants on and on till the battery dies. I believe it also ran on tape somehow cos when the battery was dying the chants also slowed down.

  • drew kora

    February 27, 2007 at 3:10 am Reply

    Ha! My wife’s parents brought one of those (or something similar to it) back from China where they vacationed (they are Chinese-American). It endlessly repeats this highly addictive chant over and over again. haha. cool.

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