Juno Reactor’s music may be rooted in ‘90s trance, but their latest release on Metropolis is not so easy to categorize. There are trance influences, of course, but overall this isn’t so much techno as it is a hybrid of EBM and world music, more guerilla warrior than blissed-out raver. Think Delerium or B-Tribe, but boiling over with rage instead of dribblinging with atmospheric melancholy. The two-part “Conquistador” starts off with extended ambient ramblings, chants, and flamenco guitar, then bursts into a high-BPM assault. There’s lots of tribal percussion throughout the album, and it’s as angry and intense as the drum machines; this is a primal war dance, not some happy jungle village celebration. Classical influences abound as well, with bombastic strings and horns building into crescendos that would do Wagner or Laibach proud. Juno Reactor also integrates occasional elements from conventional rock, like the meandering guitar melody of “Zwara” or the big beat drum sound of “Wardogs.” Female vocals and ethereal pianos on “Angels and Men” provide the album with a mellow counterpoint to the heavy beats and melodic aggression, and then the album ends with “Navras,” a long piece incorporating all of the rest of the album’s separate elements, from tribal drums to Hindu chants, aggressive drum machines to horror film orchestras. Juno Reactor proves that with enough talent at the mixing desk, an electronic producer can create music as deep and meaningful as any conventional composer.
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