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.
Ben Watkins, head of Juno Reactor
|Labels||Metropolis, NovaMute, Inter-Modo, Blue Room Released|
|Associated acts||Electrotete, Empty Quarter, The Flowerpot Men, Jungle High, Sunsonic|
Tal Tula Ben Ari
|Past members||Mike McGuire|
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.
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. They teamed up with The Creatures again in 1999 on the track "Exterminating Angel", featured on that group's album Anima Animus.
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. In the fall of 2002, Juno Reactor released a new single titled "Hotaka". It was recorded in a Japanese studio overlooking Mount 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".
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.
Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre premiered at the Ozora Festival 4 August 2016 "TIME" a unique performance featuring the Juno Reactor live band: 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.
The Mutant Theatre was released by Metropolis Records on 22 June 2018 and features tracks from the live show Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre. The first single from the album, Our World, was released on 30 June 2017.
On 22 August 2019, the EP Into Valhalla was released on Metropolis Records (North America) and Blue Tunes Records (worldwide) featuring remixes by GMS and 3 of Life. Ben Watkins remixed the track Nukhta for Indian band Medieval Punditz which subsequently got released on their compilation on 30 August 2019.
Appearances in mediaEdit
Movies and televisionEdit
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".
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).
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. 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.
Ben Watkins also worked on Bunraku released in the fall of 2011.
|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"||full soundtrack|
|1997||Mortal Kombat: Annihilation||"Conga Fury"|
|1997||Nash Bridges||"Control", "Komit"||TV Series - Episode: Knockout|
|1995||Virtuosity||"Samurai", "Fallen Angel"|
|2009||So You Think You Can Dance||"Navras", "Tetsujin"||TV Series - Episode: The Top 18 Perform, Finale: Winner Announced, Top Four Perform|
|1995||Mortal Kombat||"Control (Juno Reactor Instrumental)"|
|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"|
|2007||Genius Party||full soundtrack|
|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|
|2006||Brave Story||full soundtrack|
The video game Final Fantasy VII may have taken inspiration from the name of the band and used it to name an in-game location: The "Junon Underwater Reactor", a mako reactor. 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.
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.
|2008||Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa||"Hula Lam"|
|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|
|2018||Gran Turismo||"Alien", "Return of the Pistolero"||exclusive remixes|
- Transmissions (NovaMute Records 1993)
- Luciana (Inter-Modo 1994) (61-minute track originally recorded for the traveling art installation The Missile Project)
- Beyond the Infinite (Blue Room Released 1 October 1995)
- Bible of Dreams (Blue Room Released 1997)
- Shango (Metropolis Records 2000)
- Labyrinth (Metropolis Records, Universal Music 2004)
- Gods & Monsters (Metropolis Records 2008)
- The Golden Sun of the Great East (Metropolis Records, April 2013)
- The Mutant Theatre (Metropolis Records, 22 June 2018)
Singles and EPsEdit
- Laughing Gas (1993)
- High Energy Protons (1994)
- Guardian Angel (1995)
- Samurai (1995)
- Conga Fury (1996)
- Jungle High (1997)
- God Is God (1997)
- GOD IS GOD!! (Front 242 Mixes) (1997)
- Pistolero (Blue Room Released 2000)
- Nitrogen (2000) - 2 tracks taken from Shango
- Masters of the Universe (2001)
- Hotaka (2002)
- The Zwara EP (2003)
- Song to the Siren (2009)
- Fear Not (with Laibach, 2009)
- Our World (Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre) (2017)
- Dakota (Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre) (2018)
- Into Valhalla (2019)
Live recordings and compilation albumsEdit
- 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)
- "Juno Reactor: Gods and Monsters". PopMatters. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "Juno Reactor | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Lost in Space [Original Soundtrack] - Original Soundtrack - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- 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.
- "Juno Reactor - IMDb". Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "Once Upon a Time in Mexico soundtrack - The Quentin Tarantino Archives". wiki.tarantino.info. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "Ben Watkins - Brave Story - Original Soundtrack". Discogs. Discogs. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "Juno Reactor & The Mutant Theatre – Interview". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
- "Juno Reactor and the Mutant Theatre Official Website".
- "Mushroom Magazine article on Single and Album release". 4 July 2017.
- "Defcon Official Announcement Juno Reactor". Defcon News.
- "Dakota Release Bandcamp". Bandcamp.
- "Into Valhalla EP Bandcamp". bandcamp.
- "Juno Reactor Nukhta Remix Release". Rolling Stone India.
- "VGMdb". VGMdb.
- "Inside the Matrix Reloaded". EMusician. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "Brave Story - Juno Reactor - soundtrack (CD)". www.soundtrackcorner.de (in German). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "Super Dark Times - IMDb". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
performer: "Feel the Universe by Juno Reactor "
- "Juno Reactor IMDB". IMDB.
- "Ben Watkins IMDB". IMDB.
- JPaterson. "The Mark of Kri (2002) PlayStation 2 credits". MobyGames. MobyGames. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "Side-Line Juno Reactor interview". Side-Line.
- "Gran Turismo Spotify List of Tracks". Spotify.
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