Reactor is unknown by the majority of mainstream listeners.
It is a bit of a quandary, as for years they have created
dance beats that are easily a match for most radio and club
hits. Running the gamut from softer techno to edgy gothic/industrial,
Juno Reactor are chameleons in the electronica scene. On Shango
they explore a variety of styles new to their distinctive
sound, incorporating world beats and exotic textures, and
keeping vocals to a minimum. But even with the introduction
of this new vibe, they retain the overall feeling associated
with their past endeavors.
begins the album with Spanish style guitar and a web of samples
of women and guns. It is a well-crafted track, and one that
would make Ennio Morricone envious. Tending towards the feel
of "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly," "Pistolero" is unlike
any track I have heard from Juno Reactor in the past, a sign
of their expanding abilities. "Hule Lam" begins with tribal
beats and African vocalizations, and moves into a disjointed
groove built off of vocal "samplets." The rhythm is fast,
and tends to keep your feet moving. The energy is somewhat
subdued on "Insects," but the sounds and ideas are brilliant.
An almost drumless groove is built around a throbbing bass
line and various incidental sounds, more like theremin than
keyboards. "Badimo" is a spooky, gothic piece built on high-beat
world sounds, with a large amount of non-understandable vocalizations
adding to the darkness. The delays and strings are carefully
orchestrated and set a mood of intense horror. It is a track
more at home on perhaps a soundtrack for Dracula than on a
dance record. In a more terror-dance sound, "Masters of the
Universe" throttles the senses with pounding bass and ethereal
foreign chorus lines. The melodies of piano and voices intertwining
create a lush ambience for the beat. There are interesting
sounds, and contradicting rhythms, enough to keep the listener
interested for its entire 6 minute run.
[part 1]" begins the second half of the record with a Jean
Michel Jarre-like ambience. It is, like its counterpart "Nitrogen
[part 2]," wholly enthralling. "Part 1" holds back and creates
its strength in slowly built ambiences and dark textures,
layered over dirty rhythm tracks and varied instrumentation.
"Part 2" moves on to incorporate more of the gothic
feel, with less of the world beat sounds and more industrial
instrumentation. Neither track is entirely beat heavy, and
both tend to drag if you are wanting to move your booty. "Solaris"
is a deep track with sound structure more than song structure.
It is an ambient piece in the truest sense of the word, and
is filled with sounds and shapes of varying distinctiveness
and beauty. Interesting vocal samples add to the dark aspect
of the song, and light rhythms help to form its intrinsic
beauty. "Song for Ancestors" returns the album to its final
dealings with world beats and foreign vocalizations. It is
a slower trance track with harrowing drums and remote, inaccessible
sounds. It is crafted wonderfully around a haunting vocal
track by a woman with a voice of unspeakable beauty, and droning
instrumentation. A second song within the song brings to light
acoustic guitars and eerie human sounds that chill the listener
to the bone. Layer upon layer of sound make this track a fantastic
last look at an album full of wonderful sounds and grooves.
is not an album to be listened to whilst sitting, I have
discovered…but, with few exceptions, is meant to be experienced
in the thralls of volume and dancing. Juno Reactor are advancing
in their abilities to produce a variety of listenable music,
and are becoming more and more adept at making music that
is not only danceable, but somewhat mythic. While this album
is highly danceable, and begs for it, I think the major strengths
lie in the textures of the sounds, and the crafting of the
grooves. Fans of trance-techno would be well advised to stop
and hear the Juno Reactor.
of the Universe