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Robert Henke: Layering Buddha

Glenn Astarita By

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Robert Henke: Layering Buddha Synthesist Robert Henke celebrates the FM3 Buddha Machine on this richly ambient production that parlays the instrumentation-based sounds/loops into a sort of omnipresent reckoning. Henke cites the unit's imperfections, sampling rates and other processes with a great deal of depth and insight, especially for the micro-processor engineers out there.

The artist extracts elongated sounds and weaves them into minimalist frameworks. Think of Brian Eno's early expansive, ambient-electronic musings, for example. On Layering Buddha, Henke uses A/D converters and filtering techniques to parlay gently sweeping effects, balanced by ever-so-slight variances in pitch. Henke's approach is akin to a surgeon's pre-op strategy.

The musical scope is at times sullen and expansive. On track nine, entitled "Layer 009, Henke renders an ominous shape-shifting parameter via lower register sound-sculpting and swarming background treatments. On the other "Layers," he pursues cyclical thumbnail-like vistas constructed upon oscillating passages amid a strangely organic vibe.

On a studio processing note, Henke mentions that "the recording contains audio information up to 48 kHz, which makes it possible to transpose loops down and expose otherwise inaudible hidden details. Interesting indeed, as we sometimes tend to forget how digital technology is much more than simply a perfunctory medium or tool. Regardless, the musical attributes of this cleverly devised outing stand on their own, bespeaking man and machine at their creative apex.


Track Listing: Layer 001-Layer 0010.

Personnel: Robert Henke: FM3 Buddha Machine, electronics.

Title: Layering Buddha | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Imbalance Computer Music


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