Juno Reactor

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Ben Watkins
Ben Watkins

Juno Reactor is a musical and performing act known for the cinematic-psychedelic fusion of electronic and global music, the Matrix score and other film works. Central to the project are Ben Watkins, Mike McGuire and Stephane Holweck, and their collaborations with a constantly changing ensemble of musicians from across the world, including percussionist Mabi Thobajane from South Africa along with countrymen Amampondo, Eduardo Niebla, Steve Stevens, Greg Ellis, Taz Alexander and recently Ghetto Priest.

Originally Juno Reactor was formed as an art project in 1990; Ben Watkins wanted to collaborate with other artists to produce and be involved in exciting projects that were not commercially driven. He wanted to create experimental music/non musical soundtracks that would work with installations, art pieces and film projects.


[edit] History

[edit] 1993 and beyond

In 1993, Juno Reactor released their first single, Laughing Gas, on the NovaMute label. This was soon followed by their debut album, Transmissions. This release is considered to be one of the first albums in the goa trance genre. Later, the band released Luciana on Alex Paterson's (The Orb) Inter-Modo label. Juno Reactor left NovaMute and Inter-Modo in 1995 and signed to UK's Blue Room Released label to release the Guardian Angel single. Their album Beyond the Infinite was released in 1996.

The 1997 release on Wax Trax! Records/TVT Records, Bible of Dreams, was Juno Reactor's fourth album. It had a sound much different from the previous albums and moved away from the traditional dance beats by implementing tribal influences. Watkins collaborated with Amampondo, a traditional South African percussion act, on the single Conga Fury. Ben Watkins and Amampondo went on a five week tour of the U.S., doing the opening for Moby. In 1998 Juno Reactor played a stunning live set with Amampondo at Glastonbury Festival.

Watkins released the fifth Juno Reactor album, Shango in 2000. It was the first of his albums on Metropolis Records. The first track from the album, Pistolero, was done in a collaboration with guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol). The song opened up an entirely new direction for Juno Reactor. This same track was also featured during the trailer for the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as well as the film itself. In the fall of 2002, Juno Reactor released a new single titled Hotaka. It was recorded in a Japanese studio overlooking Mt. Fuji. Hotaka once again featured Steve Stevens on guitar, and included traditional Taiko drummers, GOCOO. In 2003, the Odyssey 1992-2002 album was released as a compilation of the best Juno Reactor tracks of the past decade.

The latest Juno Reactor album, Labyrinth, was released in October 2004, and featured Watkins' work from the Matrix films. The new album once again cemented the tribal influences present in their music through tracks like Conquistador II.

2006 Ben Watkins was hired to compose an orchestral score for Brave Story (A Japanese Feature anime). Sony Japan released the Soundtrack in July. Recorded in Slovakia with the Bratislavain Radio Symphony Orchestra and choir, it shows a new versatile and unexpected side of Ben Watkins and Juno Reactor.

2008 will see the collaboration of Koji Morimoto and Ben Watkins, an experimental Anima project called Genius Party.

[edit] Current Works

In October 2006, Juno Reactor performed a taped concert in Tokyo including an extended lineup and some new work. This show will feature in the forthcoming tour DVD.


Play List:

  • Conquistador I & II
  • Biot Messiah
  • Giant
  • War Dogs
  • Komit
  • City of the Sinful (New)
  • God is God
  • Mutant Message
  • Hotaka
  • Pistolero
  • Conga Fury
  • Nitrogen II
  • Insects
  • Rotablade
  • Zwara
  • Hulalam
  • Masters of the Universe
  • Angels & Men
  • Kaguyashima (New)
  • Guardian Angel

Juno Reactor are also providing part of the soundtrack for Genius Party, a forthcoming Studio 4°C Animation

[edit] Appearances in media

Their remix of Traci Lords' song Control as an instrumental was featured on the soundtrack for the Mortal Kombat movie. They returned for the sequel Mortal Kombat Annihilation with tracks like Conga Fury. Later, the group, in collaboration with Don Davis, had a number of tracks featured on the soundtracks for the Matrix series of films and video games (most notably the famous freeway chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded, which featured Mona Lisa Overdrive, as well as the Animatrix, which featured the tracks Masters Of The Universe on the short Kid's Story, and Conga Fury (Animatrix Remix) on Final Flight of the Osiris. Their single Guardian Angel was featured as the opening theme of the anime series Texhnolyze. Guardian Angel was also featured in the movie Drive starring Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison. Other Juno Reactor tracks appear on movies such as Eraser, Virtuosity, Lost In Space, the Romeo + Juliet trailer, Beowulf and even Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Juno Reactor soundtracks have also been played during baseball, basketball, and gridiron football games, the Japanese Grand Prix, and appear on the PlayStation game Jet Moto 3 and also PlayStation 2's Frequency, as well as the Xbox game Mad Dash Racing. Juno Reactor also scored the entirety of the Mark of Kri game.

In the game Final Fantasy VII, there is a device called a Mako Reactor in a place called Junon; thus, it is referred to as the Junon Reactor. It is unclear whether this was a deliberate reference. [In the original Japanese version of the game, the reactor was referred to as ジュノン海底魔晄炉 (Junon Kaitei Makouro), or Junon Underwater Mako Reactor.]

Juno Reactor has also made a song in the game Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4.

[edit] Trivia

  • The name Juno is the name of an Ancient Roman goddess. In this fashion, Juno Reactor symbolizes a "powerhouse of the ancient religions".[citation needed]
  • One of the band's logos is actually a form of the symbol associated with the asteroid Juno.
  • The title of the album Beyond the Infinite could be a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the sequence Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite. This may be related to the several occurrences of their sampling of this movie on the Transmissions album.

[edit] Discography

[edit] Full-length Albums

[edit] Singles & EPs

[edit] Live Recordings & Compilation Albums

  • Odyssey 1992-2002
  • Shango Tour 2001 Tokyo (Live In Tokyo) (2002)

[edit] External links

In other languages