Juno Reactor

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Juno Reactor
Ben Watkins from Juno Reactor.jpg
Ben Watkins, head of Juno Reactor
Background information
OriginLondon, United Kingdom
Genres
Years active1990–present
LabelsMetropolis, NovaMute, Inter-Modo, Blue Room Released
Associated actsElectrotete, Empty Quarter, The Flowerpot Men, Jungle High, Sunsonic
Websitewww.JunoReactor.com
MembersBen Watkins
Budgie
Sugizo
Amir-John Haddad
Tal Tula Ben Ari
Nataly Hay
Avishag Efrati
Agnivo
Stigma Show
Past membersMike McGuire
Stephane Holweck
Jens Waldeback
Johann Bley
Taz Alexander
Mabi Thobejane
Michael LaDonga
Simpiwe Marele
Mandala Lande
Greg Ellis
Paul Jackson
Steve Stevens
Squid
Xavier Morel
Hamsika Iyer
Taja Devi
Kris Kylven
Stigma show as part of Juno Reactor

Juno Reactor is an English musical and performing group known for their cinematic fusion of electronic, global influences, and orchestral symphonic approach, collaborating with composer Don Davis and composing for the musical score of The Matrix (Reloaded and Revolutions). Central to the project is Ben Watkins and his collaborations with a constantly changing ensemble of musicians from across the world. This ensemble has included Mabi Thobejane, Amampondo, Steve Stevens, Eduardo Niebla, Greg Ellis, Taz Alexander, Sugizo, Budgie and recently Hamsika Iyer and Maggie Hikri.

History[edit]

Juno Reactor was formed as an art project in 1990. Ben Watkins wanted to collaborate with other artists, producing exciting projects that were not commercially driven. He wanted to create experimental music and non-musical soundtracks that would work with installations, art pieces, and film projects.[1][2]

Juno Reactor released their first single, "Laughing Gas", in 1993 on the NovaMute label. This was soon followed by their debut album, Transmissions. This release was the first artist album in the genre[clarification needed]. 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 with the UK label Blue Room Released to release the single "Guardian Angel". Their album Beyond the Infinite was released in 1995.

The 1997 Blue Room Released Bible of Dreams was Juno Reactor's fourth album. It had a much different sound than 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". Watkins and Amampondo went on a five-week tour of the US, opening for Moby. In 1998, Juno Reactor played a live set with Amampondo at Glastonbury Festival. The group collaborated with The Creatures on the track "I'm here...Another Planet" for the Lost in Space (1998) soundtrack.[3] They teamed up with The Creatures again in 1999 on the track "Exterminating Angel", featured on that group's album Anima Animus.[4]

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 a collaboration with Billy Idol's guitarist, Steve Stevens. The track was featured during the trailer for the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, as well as in the film itself.[5][6] In the fall of 2002, Juno Reactor released a new single titled "Hotaka". It was recorded in a Japanese studio overlooking Mt. Fuji. "Hotaka" featured Stevens on guitar, and included traditional Taiko drummers Gocoo. In 2003, the album Odyssey 1992–2002 was released as a compilation of the best Juno Reactor tracks of the decade.

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

In 2006, Watkins was hired to compose an orchestral score for Brave Story, a Japanese anime feature film. Sony Japan released the soundtrack, which was recorded at the Slovak Radio Concert Hall in Slovakia with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra. The album was written by "Ben Watkins aka Juno Reactor".[7]

In 2008 Ben Watkins collaborated with anime director Koji Morimoto for Genius Party Beyond, an anthology of short animated films from Studio 4°C.

Juno Reactor's album Gods & Monsters was released in March 2008, and featured the introduction of Ghetto Priest and Sugizo into the Juno Reactor fold, along with Eduardo Niebla, Xavier Morel, and Yasmin Levy. In 2009, the band toured with drummer Budgie, of the band Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Juno Reactor's album The Golden Sun of the Great East was released on Metropolis Records in 2013.

Agnivo as part of Juno Reactor

Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre premiered at the Ozora Festival 4 August 2016 “TIME” a unique performance featuring the Juno Reactor live band: Taja Devi (Vocalist) Tal Tula Ben-Ari (Vocals) Nataly Hay (Dancer) Amir Haddad (Oud and Guitars) Ben Watkins (Electronics & Guitar) Johann Bley (Drums). Joined by Agnivo and Stigma Show, visual performance groups from Russia, under the banner of The Mutant Theatre.[8]

The Mutant Theatre was released by Metropolis Records on 22 June 2018 and features tracks from the live show Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre.[9] The first single from the album, Our World, was released on 30 June 2017.[10]

In August 2018, Juno Reactor performed at the Hacker Conference, DEF_CON.[11] Along, on the 10th August 2018, the single Dakota was released, written together with the Israeli DJ duo Undercover.[12]

On the 22th August 2019 the E.P. Into Valhalla was released on Metropolis Records (North America) and Blue Tunes Records (worldwide) featuring remixes of artist GMS.[13] Ben Watkins remixed the track Nukhta for Indian band Medieval Punditz which subsequently got released on their compilation on the 30th August 2019.[14]

Appearances in media[edit]

Movies and television[edit]

Juno Reactor produced and wrote Traci Lords's American hit "Control". As an instrumental it was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Mortal Kombat. It was used in the fight between Liu Kang and Reptile. The group also appeared on the soundtrack to the sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, with the track "Conga Fury".

In 1997, while on tour with Moby, Ben Watkins was requested to the score for the original Japanese horror movie "Ring" but had to turn it down due to being mid-tour. Instead, two tracks, Guardian Angel and Feel the Universe were used on the soundtrack compilation stating "inspired by".[15]

Later, Ben Watkins in collaboration with Don Davis, worked with The Wachowskis for the Matrix series of films and video games. Juno Reactor's music was featured in five sequences from the last two films in the franchise, including the highway chase (Mona Lisa Overdrive) and the Agent Smith fight (Burly Brawl) from The Matrix Reloaded and the subway train chase (The Trainman Cometh), the shootout on the Merovingian's club (Tetsujin) and the end credits (Navras) from The Matrix Revolutions. The Animatrix also featured pre-existing tracks "Masters Of The Universe" (in Kid's Story) and "Conga Fury (Animatrix Remix)" (in Final Flight of the Osiris).[16]

Brave Story also saw Ben Watkins Score his first full orchestra feature, released in Japan where it was the number 1 film for 6 weeks.[17]

in 2001 "Masters of the Universe", from the album Shango, was briefly used in the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie trailer.

Many other tracks have been used in films including those listed below. 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 1999 film Beowulf, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.[5][6] Juno Reactor soundtracks have also been played during baseball, basketball, and gridiron football games, and the Japanese Grand Prix. The track Feel the Universe is featured in the Kevin Phillips first movie, Super Dark Times[18].

Ben Watkins also worked on Bunraku released in the fall of 2011.

Year Movie/TV Show Soundtrack Notes
2011 Bunraku "Putting on the Blitz" composer: additional music
2017 Super Dark Times "Feel the Universe"
2010 Chikara: The Renaissance Dawns "God Is God"
2009 Chikara: King of Trios 2009 - Night III "God Is God"
2005 Secuestro express "War Dogs"
2003 The Matrix Revolutions "The Trainman Cometh", "Tetsujin", "Navras" composer: additional music
2003 Once Upon a Time in Mexico "Pistolero"
2003 Kid's Story "Masters of the Universe"
2003 The Matrix Reloaded "Mona Lisa Overdrive", "Komit", "Teahouse", "Burly Brawl", "Mona Lisa Overdrive"
2003 The Animatrix "Conga fury", "Masters of the Universe"
2003 Final Flight of the Osiris "Conga fury"
2001 Sugar & Spice "Pistolero"
1999 Beowulf "God Is God" composer of entire music
1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation "Conga Fury"
1997 Drive "Guardian Angel"
1997 Nash Bridges "Control", "Komit" TV Series - Episode: Knockout
1995 Virtuosity "Samurai", "Fallen Angel"
2009 So you think you can dance "Narvas", "Tetsujin" TV Series - Episode: The Top 18 Perform, Finale: Winner Announced, Top Four Perform
1995 Mortal Kombat "Control (Juno Reactor Instrumental)"
1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off "Beat City"
2011 Sonho de Verão "Hulelam"
2009 Nostalgia Critic "Burly Brawl" TV Series - Episode: AVGN vs. NC Final Battle
1998 Lost in Space "I'm Here...Another Planet") / (writer: "I'm Here...Another Planet"
2013 Jackpot musical director
2007 Genius Party entire music
2005 Webbed Cam
2003 The Fanimatrix: Run Program
1995 Traci Lords: Fallen Angel, Version 1 music video
1995 Traci Lords: Fallen Angel, Version 2 music video
2003 Texhnolyze "Guardian Angel" opening credits
1996 Eraser Trailer
2006 Brave Story composer of entire music

[19] [20]

Video games[edit]

The video game Final Fantasy VII uses the name of the band as a location. Their work appears in the PlayStation game Jet Moto 3, PlayStation 2's Frequency, PlayStation 2's Kinetica, PlayStation 2's Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild, and the Xbox game Mad Dash Racing. Juno Reactor also scored the PlayStation 2 game The Mark of Kri.[21]

Juno Reactor also has a song in the game Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 4. The trailer for Secuestro Express includes an excerpt from the song "War Dogs" from the album Labyrinth. Also from Labyrinth, the song "Mutant Message" is featured in the Legion trailer.

Gran Turismo commissioned Juno Reactor to create exclusive GT mixes of Alien and Return of the Pistolero for their global release of Gran Turismo Sport, both tracks appear on the 2018 album.[22][23]

Year Video Game Soundtrack Notes
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa "Hula Lam"
2001 Mad Dash Racing "Nitrogen Part II"
2002 Frequency "Higher Ground"
2001 Mad Dash Racing "Nitrogen Part II"
2001 Kinetica "Nitrogen Part II"
2005 The Matrix: Path of Neo co-composer
2002 The Mark of Kri entire music
1992 Outlander
2018 Gran Turismo "Alien", "Return of the Pistolero" exclusive remixes

[19] [20]

Discography[edit]

Full-length albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

Live recordings and compilation albums[edit]

  • Odyssey 1992–2002
  • Shango Tour 2001 Tokyo (Live in Tokyo) (2002)
  • Juno Reactor Live - Audio Visual Experience (2007)
  • Inside the Reactor (2012)
  • The Golden Sun - Remixed (2015)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Juno Reactor: Gods and Monsters". PopMatters. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Juno Reactor | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Lost in Space [Original Soundtrack] - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  4. ^ Morgan, David (October 2003). "The Creatures". In Buckley, Peter (ed.). The Rough Guide to Rock (3 ed.). London: Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. The whole album gleamed with ideas and enthusiasm, with standout track 'Exterminating Angel' gaining extra power from its classy Juno Reactor production.
  5. ^ a b "Juno Reactor - IMDb". Retrieved 23 May 2012. performer: "Pistolero"
  6. ^ a b "Once Upon a Time in Mexico soundtrack - The Quentin Tarantino Archives". wiki.tarantino.info. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Ben Watkins - Brave Story - Original Soundtrack". Discogs. Discogs. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre – Interview". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Juno Reactor and the Mutant Theatre Official Website".
  10. ^ "Mushroom Magazine article on Single and Album release". 4 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Defcon Official Announcement Juno Reactor". Defcon News.
  12. ^ "Dakota Release Bandcamp". Bandcamp.
  13. ^ "Into Valhalla EP Bandcamp". bandcamp.
  14. ^ "Juno Reactor Nukhta Remix Release". Rolling Stone India.
  15. ^ "VGMdb". VGMdb.
  16. ^ "Inside the Matrix Reloaded". EMusician. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Brave Story - Juno Reactor - soundtrack (CD)". www.soundtrackcorner.de (in German). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Super Dark Times - IMDb". Retrieved 5 February 2018. performer: "Feel the Universe by Juno Reactor "
  19. ^ a b "Juno Reactor IMDB". IMDB.
  20. ^ a b "Ben Watkins IMDB". IMDB.
  21. ^ JPaterson. "The Mark of Kri (2002) PlayStation 2 credits". MobyGames. MobyGames. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  22. ^ "Side-Line Juno Reactor interview". Side-Line.
  23. ^ "Gran Turismo Spotify List of Tracks". Spotify.

External links[edit]