Juno Reactor transmitting high-energy music,
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This review is from: Transmissions (Audio CD)
Juno Reactor is a British trance group that have been active since the early 90's, making them one of the original acts on the trance scene. Early on, Juno Reactor's musical output orbited around the type of trance popularly referred to as Goa trance, but later on in their career they started to gravitate towards more worldly and tribal music, still with an emphasis on danceability, to the chagrin of many of their hardcore fans. My introduction to Juno Reactor came with the bouncy megahit "Pistolero" from the
album "Shango," released in 2000, and with Juno Reactor's input in the second and third "Matrix"-films. I'm probably not alone in discovering them in that way. If you've only heard their later stuff, you'll hopefully be pleased by their debut album "Transmissions," from 1993, as well. With nine gobsmacking tunes to lose yourself in or shake yourself loose to, "Transmissions" is an early milestone in the genre, an inventive and dynamic collection of beats and pulses that manages to be both relaxing and exhilirating at once. Stand-out tracks are "High Energy Protons," "Luna-Tic," "Laughing Gas" and "Man 2 Ray."
The opening track "High Energy Protons" (a reference to the Northern Lights phenomena) samples the film "2001: A Space Odyssey," which I think is the perfect prototype for electronic dance music, particularly trance. The classic film is a bit like visual trance music in that it focuses less on narrative and more on atmosphere, created by sounds and images, and the film can induce a kind of hypnotic state of mind similar to what can happen when you listen to trance music. Juno Reactor are not the first to include the monotonous soothing voice of HAL9000 (the delusional computer from the film) and they probably won't be the last. Science fiction and trance music go together like peas and carrots. There is common ground in the psychedelic aspects of both genres.
Unlike Juno Reactor's subsequent ventures, "Transmissions" consists mainly of straightforward dance tracks, with a couple of more ambient pieces and touches of ethno-music that hint at the band's future interest in exploring other styles. It is a bit amazing to me how well this album still sounds, twenty years later. Electronic music is usually something that grows kind of old pretty fast and most trance music and techno from the early '90s is rather laughable compared to more contemporary releases. But "Transmissions" is as fresh, unique and exciting as it probably was upon its original arrival. So come take a far-out ride with Juno Reactor. It'll make you want to come back for more!