Juno Reactor is amazing. Really. Innovators and pioneers, Juno Reactor sets high standards for the world of techno and dance music. Their latest album, Shango, effortlessly weaves influences from all over the world and fast beats into one masterpiece that flows perfectly. I like how Juno Reactor paints a vast picture with sound, and the final effort is very grand and spans all extremes. The first track and single, “Pistolero,” is exciting and unique. Delicate and quick flamenco guitar mixes with a funky break-beat, and Spanish laughter and voices are heard throughout the soundscape. An international influence is heard on track two, “Hulelam,” as well. This time, tribal drums rule, and it creates for a catchy song. Darkness takes over on the next two songs, with alternating beats and ominous strings pervading “Insects,” and deep, robotic vocals on “Badimo.” Things only get more disturbing from there. All kinds of sounds fill “Masters of the Universe,” like haunting female vocal sounds that sound familiar to me but that I couldn’t quite place, and old-school techno sounds mixed up with strings and reverb, and finally it all comes together in a fast-paced frenzy. After this, Shango dips into a relaxing, almost ambient feel, simultaneously soothing and haunting, with an occasional exotic instrument or idea. Shango is definitely one of the best electronic albums I have heard lately.
Metropolis Records, P.O. Box 54307, Philadelphia, PA 19105; http://www.metropolis-records.com