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Odyssey 1992-2002

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Album Review

Several things quickly become apparent when you sit down to listen to this ten-year retrospective of music by Juno Reactor. The first is that the group hit upon its formula early on and has, for the most part, stuck with it: a combination of industrial music's house-derived beats and dense synthesizers that generally eschews the oppressive Teutonic shouting and harsh textures that typify most industrial releases. In fact, Juno Reactor generally avoids homemade lyrics and vocals at all, instead spicing up the instrumental mix with found-sound commentary or prerecorded singers of various ethnic backgrounds. Easy listening it isn't, but the end result is a surprisingly pleasant and sometimes even soothing one. This program traces the band's evolution from its early years, during which its sound was just a bit generic and it seemed to be poking around a bit to find its identity (note early tracks like "Laughing Gas" and "High Energy Protons," which are perfectly fine but not particular interesting), to its much more exciting current work, which includes the funny and funky "Pistolero" (featuring spaghetti Western sound effects and some very impressive nylon-string guitar playing) and the lovely "Hotaka" (featuring some equally impressive Tibetan throat singing). The album's finest track is smack in the middle of the program, though: It's a funked-up recording of a woman singing devotional Arabic music. Titled "God Is Good," it provides a perfect centerpiece for what is, in the end, a very impressive look back on a great decade of music-making.

Biography

Formed: 1991

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s

Best-known for injecting former porn star Traci Lords with some hi-NRG trance on her 1995 solo album, Ben Watkins and co. have pursued a fusion of Goa trance and techno on their own recordings as Juno Reactor. Watkins, who has produced Alison Moyet and worked with Youth (in both the Empty Quarter and Brilliant), formed his own band in the late '80s, the Flowerpot Men (not to be confused with the '60s band of the same name). Not long after, Watkins retreated to travel around the world with a portable...
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Odyssey 1992-2002, Juno Reactor
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