Friday, December 22, 2006

If you meet the Buddha on the disc....

...I am not sure what the proper ending to that clause would be, exactly. Destroy the disc? Don't listen?

In his Monolake incarnation, Robert Henke [along with collaborators Gerhard Behles and Torsten Pröfrock, along the way] has been putting out fine music for a very long time. Although he continues from strength as his discography lengthens, I confess to a particular nostalgic committment to some of his earlier works such as Cinemascope or hongkong.

But it is often the "out of character" releases that draw my attention. In Robert's case, the recording of his that I most prize is beat-free, and scoured by wind, in tent, and choice to the very shape of Perfection itself: Gobi the desert EP. While his dub-rubbed and slow-cooked techno is up there with the best of them, the rumours of something off the beaten path from Monolake's regular output is an opportunity for joy. In addition to the languorous and finely detailed soundscape of Gobi, Robert has also turned his attentions to conjuring entirely different kinds of wilderness with Signal to Noise [the construction of the entirely artificial world in the piece "Studies for Thunder" by feeding pulses of filtered noise into networks of granular delay lines is amazing].

Robert's most recent release, Layering Buddha falls into that latter category, taking recordings of Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian's ambient loop player, the FM3 Buddha Machine, as its starting point, and then extracting and processing the sound of this pleasant and humble device to the edge of recognizeability and well beyond. The result is a great addition to Robert's catalog. The links above contain MP3 samples - even if you don't hear it on RTQE some Sunday evening, you can still find examples there. Well worth your time and attention.