The new release from the Juno Reactor project sees eleven tracks receive mixes by eleven different producers – with a result that consolidates the blending of electronica and orchestral forms Ben Watkins’ global cooperative’s canon have received acclaim for since their 1990 establishment.
Throughout the almost-continuous playlist, haunting and evocative global instruments penetrate the constant synth lines and phrases. Opening track ‘Navara’, in its Midival Punditz remix, and the Asian beats and chanting succeed in transcending you to a higher plane.
The Perfect Stranger mix of ‘Rotorblade’ and the Thomas P Heckmann reimagining of ‘Mona Lisa Overdrive’, tracks laying side by side, could amply sit among Nineties trance classics with their smooth, swirling breakdowns and samplified vocals.
Elements of drum and bass emerge in Thomas P Harni’s interpretation of ‘Zwara’, where the industrial-sounding beat is complemented, even assisted, by the oriental incantations. A slower pace dawns in the Bombay Dub Orchestra’s treatment of ‘Pistolero’, where Spanish flamenco guitar ooze finely with a sitar coda and lush, Bollywood-evoking strings; and its acoustic bass guitar breakdown towards the conclusion is a beautiful sonic treat.
Following track ‘Hotaka’, as remixed by Uber Tmar, couldn’t be further from the ambience of ‘Zwara’ in contrast; built on a gravelly voice sample and Fatboy Slim-esque break beats which segue into a hypnotic spiral of squelchy notes and ravey waves from the early Prodigy era. Soundvandal’s take on ‘Children Of The Night’ throws in race-car samples among its frantic, pulsatic energies.
If the words ‘Lost 1995 Mix’ attached to ‘The Heavens’ whet your appetite for a slice of techno-trance which takes you back 16 years, you won’t be disappointed. Quasi-analog synth phrases, laser pulses and acid-house sounds find a home here. Bookend track ‘Navras’ serves an apt epitome of what has preceded – cosmopolitan sounds with cinematic airs bound by euphoric electronic beats.
‘Inside The Reactor’ takes many listens to value the nuances of its fusion, but each aural experience is bound to endear the listener to Juno Reactor and its heritage. Viewing the album as a patchwork, it’s an excellent testimony to, and a respectful tribute to, all who’ve added to and enhanced a mighty canon of work.
Find out more about Juno Reactor by visiting their website.