Juno Reactor ‎– Labyrinth

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Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
MET 346 Juno Reactor Labyrinth(CD, Album) Metropolis MET 346 US 2004 Sell This Version
UPCI-1013 Juno Reactor Labyrinth(CD, Album) Universal UPCI-1013 Japan 2004 Sell This Version
MET 346 Juno Reactor Labyrinth(CD, Album, Unofficial) Metropolis (12) MET 346 Russia 2004 Sell This Version
252 6945 Juno Reactor Labyrinth(CD, Album, Unofficial) Not On Label (Juno Reactor) 252 6945 Russia 2005 Sell This Version
MET 346 Juno Reactor Labyrinth(CD, Album) Soyuz Music, Metropolis MET 346 Russia 2006 Sell This Version
MR 2469-2 Juno Reactor Labyrinth(CD, Album) Moon Records (2) MR 2469-2 Ukraine 2007 Sell This Version

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theKomit

theKomit

December 6, 2015
referencing Labyrinth, CD, Album, MET 346
Excellent album, among some of the healthiest food for the imagination.
A shame that it was never pressed on vinyl..
s3iyaintrance

s3iyaintrance

December 10, 2013
referencing Labyrinth, CD, Album, MET 346
Amazing album, I have to say it, all the tunes are brilliant, for albums like this one we can see how awesome producers are this guys.
listen Mona lisa overdrive,full volume, when you are driving is a awesome experience!
Reticulum_Flux

Reticulum_Flux

June 25, 2006
edited over 12 years ago
referencing Labyrinth, CD, Album, MET 346
I've been a fan of Juno Reactor for quite some time now. I've heard all his albums, and enjoyed his work on The Matrix movies. Juno Reactor contributed a lot to trance music in the 90's. We haven't seen him too much in the new millinium though... How does he stand in today's market of music?

Honestly, he stands up just as good as he did in the 90s. Labyrinth carries the unmistakable Juno beats we've all come to know and love. Fans familar with the more tribal direction JR has began to taken in the last couple albums will be able to get into this release no problem. Oddly enough, it seems JR is trying to cross over a more rock sound now in the tracks. A number of songs on here have hard hitting guitars (War Dogs!).

While I don't really think JR is a dance act anymore, what with their genre crossings being so heavy now, but one thing is for sure... Juno Reactor hasn't lost it!
Le_Lotus_Bleu

Le_Lotus_Bleu

November 22, 2004
edited over 14 years ago
referencing Labyrinth, CD, Album, MET 346

1- Conquistador 1
2- Conquistador 2

Both track, what a surprise, are connected & mixed without break, indeed let’s say that part 1 is the intro of part 2 (the core dancefloor).

So the 1st one is very calm, in addition of the vibraphone, the typical vilins sounds from juno are immediatly recognizable embellished of some notes escaped from Eduardo Niebla’s flamenco guitar (but no poco loco melody here like did Steve Stevens in Pistolero). On the end, a semblance of rythmic makes irruption, sign of a forthcoming throbbing & nervous bass in the neighbourhood…

That’s when you’re propulsated in the 2nd part, you’ll recognize this deep& naughty african voice already heard in Badimo for example (but the voice is present all along here), consequently the tune’s ambience reminds another Juno’s tribal stuff : Conga Fury . Afterwards, the flamenco guitar of the 1st part comes back.

3- Giant
The rythmic is different here from the dominant tribal one on the album as it’s more breakbeat oriented., that’s also the 1st which focuses on a woman voice (Diane Champagne). An assemblage that seems to be appreciated by Ben Watkins as it will be reedited several times on the album, nevertheless the Diane Champagne’s performance is closest to an excercise in vocalization than real chant but pushed with the women backing vocals it results a nice Mermaid effect.

4- War Dogs
And now comes the most orientalish tune but in my mind much more well performed than was God Is God. It bursts in with an alternance of violins & electric guitar riffs on what a flamenco guitar & ney (which must be this typical instrument with an oriental sound) will be added.

5- Mona Lisa Overdrive
It’s another tune rich in woman vocalizes (Taz Alexander this time, accompagnied by some chorus), rich also in gallopping & backfiring melodies played respectively by a violin & some blunderbuss (brass). A title soon repayed for its reinvigorate & anti-flu effects.

6- Zwara

Let’s notice the bass is performed by Greg Hunter (Kiling Joke) & that Susan Hendricks is responsible of the incantations & vocalizes. Furthermore many little nervous african male crys & some percussions confer the track a warrior and/or psychopath ambience, the kind of perfect soundtrack dedicated to lazergame partys.

7- Mutant Message

Ok now, how about something more chilly, sweet & subtle in this album ?
No worry, it’s time with some plaintive leads & some quaver in one’s voice, a piano melody little echo affected for a guaranteed mysterious & misty ambience. Some very sharpy violins comes slyly piercing your eardrum, ambience gloomy & cold a la Shining.

8-Angels And Men
Once again, some woman vocalizes with Taz Alexander,even though to be honest this time she sings a little bit. Otherwise this is the chill tune of this miscellany, in the same spirit as Song For The Ancestors in Shango, with a lead that couln’t have been more melancholy.

9- Navras
For conclude before a new album (that everybody hope for in a lapse of time infererior to 4 years this time), you got a huge orchestration, very classical music oriented (in a Wagnerian style,so very punchy ), during this intro but later on coppled with a the orchestra & the Hollywood Film Choral. Indian ambience too with men’s chants & Deepak Ram (the one involved in Solaris from Shango) playing excited indian flute, un new tutti frutti mix which seems at first improbable but at final takes shape, thanks to the magic wand of Ben Watkins well helped of his numerous guests performers. Besides this fact can be checked all along Labyrith.
DeathPosture

DeathPosture

October 25, 2004
edited over 14 years ago
referencing Labyrinth, CD, Album, MET 346

Mors stupebit et natura cum resurget creatura huic ergo parce deus

Only a true musical master would dare putting up big fat renditions from the Catholic Requiem in the booklet of a new album… And especially when it translates into: ‘Death and nature shall stand amazed when creation rises. Spare them, O God’ … Risky, pretentious business - but that’s exactly what Ben Watkins pulls off on this, the 6th studio album… And yes, he can pull it off!

Though it’s been 4 years since the release of Shango, we’ve been fortunate enough to have plenty of Juno Reactor material released in the waiting time: There was the excellent Hotaka single, the techno-influenced remix EP Masters of the Universe, the retrospective ‘best of’ album: Odessey, the tribal Zwara EP and of course the impressive tracks on the Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolutions and The Animatrix OSTs… But nevertheless, hoards of people have been waiting for this album – and finally it’s out…

Let me take you thru the tracks…

#01: The first part of Conquistador is a pretty laid back, chilled piece of music and works as a long intro to Conquistador II… The track itself revolves around beautiful, organic, downbeat pieces: Acoustic Mexican guitar played by Eduardo Niebla – soothing vocals by Taz Alexander – and for the second part of the track a mixed selection of percussion by Greg Ellis and Nick Burton… They steadily increase the tempo, building and building – it’s simply brilliant - and towards the ‘end’ you can cut through the tension with a knife… And then, BAM!

#02: That long build-up is finally rewarded as we mix seamlessly into Conquistador II which immediately unleashes the unmistakable full-power Juno Reactor sound… A couple more guys are added on percussion: Risenga Makondo and Mabi Thobejane… So it’s 4 guys on percussion now, kicking the shit of those drums, congas, tablas, steel drums and whatnots… Also Niebla returns with his guitar and we get some ethno-tribal chants similar to those found on Shango… Actually this is just as good as Shango was – or Bible Of Dreams for that matter… The production by Watkins & Burton is flawless, and I cannot help myself from being totally sucked in by this track… It’s perfect!

#03: “Inside… inside… inside!” … Watkins is now joined by Victor Indrizzo on live drums and Diane Charlemagne on vocals… This track is more experimental, and has already been dubbed the ‘drum n bass track’ by JR fans… Focus revolved around Ms. Charlemagne’s voice in different pitch levels and the brutal, cut-up live drums… It’s definitely different from the norm, but seen in a Juno Reactor perspective, it’s just another border-crossing experiment… And not a bad one either… Through my first listens, I had reservations with this track, but it has slowly grown on me… Nice!

#04: War Dogs is more ‘standard’ Juno Reactor… By that I mean, big fat orchestral sounds, huge percussion arrangements and ethno vocals – something along the lines of the tracks on the Matrix soundtracks…Niebla is back on acoustic guitars and some dude called Budgie is on drums – and he also co-produced the track with Watkins… This tune has a ‘Spanish-hacienda-lazy-afternoon-siesta-feel’ and I like that – it’s good, but too short!

#05: Alright, this is the track from the highway chase sequence in Matrix Reloaded, and what an absolutely fucking brilliant track this is… It’s fast paced, intense world beat party music with emphasis on the brilliant percussion and the female vocals by Taz Alexander… Produced in co-operation with Don Davies… I dig this track – good enough for a Zion rave, I’m sure…

#06: “Zwara... Zwara... Zwara..!.” This is the Sleepwalker track! Released in Japan in 2003 as a single only – again, this is typical JR style… A massive sound-spectre consisting of multilayered tribal percussion, ethnic vocals (even screaming at times) and big orchestral background pads… And of course the sweet taiko-drum action performed by Gocoo and Greg Hunter on bass… A brilliant combination, creating a brilliant track!

#07: Mutant Message starts of with a computerized voice speaking in German, then some deep, polished bassline played brilliantly by the master himself: Youth … And of course the very simple, yet astonishing piano-line… Added later on are much more percussion and plush effects from around the world – great stuff indeed… The pace in this track isn’t exactly slow, just slower than its predecessors… I really like the sharp contrast outlined between Youth’s bass and the piano… Amazing!

#08: “Why are you so afraid of the face of God?” That’s the question Taz pops with her beautiful voice on this chilled track… This is ambient – Juno Reactor style with Thobejane percussion and sonic forager by Morel… And Watkins & Friends are skilled in more than just the art of upbeat world beats – this is a sweet, sweet down tempo tune… Very organic, harmonic and simply amazing!

#09: Last track is Navras which was also featured in Matrix Reloaded during the credits… It’s big and pompous… Carmina-Burana-like choral singing by various singers, single vocal by Azam Ali, percussion by Thobejane & Greg Ellis, Raja Ram-like flute by Deepak Ram and big orchestral arrangements by Don Davies… What a cool atmosphere created here – and it works even without the fancy Hollywood FX… It’s Juno at large - how can you go wrong? This is simply amazing…

Holy phuck – what a ride… My expectations for this album were sky high, and I’m glad to say that they were met – even excelled. This is a really, really good album – we’ve come to expect a masterpiece every time that Watkins & Co. grace us with a release, and thankfully they do not let us down here…

This album can be characterized by its versatile and flawless production and sound – and by the constant evolution, experimentation and crossing of musical boundaries. It’s just damn good music. Period.

If you liked Bible of Dreams and Shango, you will like this… If you liked the Hotoka and Zwara singles, you will like this… If you liked the Juno Reactor music from the Matrix movies, you will like this… If you like high-quality, genre-crossing dance music, you’ll like this… To put it short – you’ll like this! Trust me! Highly recommended!

Favourites: 1(!), 2(!!!), 5, 6(!), 7(!!), 8, 9(!)
Jikkenteki

Jikkenteki

October 11, 2004
edited over 14 years ago
referencing Labyrinth, CD, Album, UPCI-1013

Its been four years since the last full Juno Reactor album and finally fans can rejoice that the wait is over. Its no real secret that one of the reasons for the delay of this album was that Juno master mind, Ben Watkins, had been pulled away from work on this album to do some significant work on the music for the last two Matrix movies. The influences of working on these films definitely shows through on the album as this album is more spacious and epic than anything previous. This album also has probably uses the most amount of real instruments, orchestra elements and various vocals to date. However fans of Juno's brand of tribal, electronic music should not worry, as this album is drenched in tribal percussion and there isn't a full on bassline or minimal track to be found. In fact, if you loved Bible Of Dreams you are in luck as this album reminds me of that album , except extremely beefed up.

So how does it sound? I was personally worried since the last three Juno Reactor albums have been most excellent, that there was simply no way the next album to compare. I went in with low expectations and am happy to report I was basically proven wrong on almost every point.

Conquistador (I'm counting 1 and 2 together since there are essentially the same track) opens up the album in what I feel just might be Juno Reactor's best track to date. Part 1 starts use off with slow pads and orchestral flyby's drift over a quiet percussion/melody line. Some lovely Spanish influence acoustic guitar lines drift in and out at first and slowly establish the mode of the track. Some ethereal female vocals and choir elements drift in and out adding to the atmosphere. Some percussion starts to build into the shift into part 2 which drops us into full blown Juno Reactor "trance" mode. The percussion takes over and Mabi Thobejane comes in making it feel like this track is a secret missing gem from the Bible of Dreams session (although it might even be better than most of that album). Descriptions are difficult, but I actually caught myself think "this might be as good as some Shpongle stuff" so it must be good.

Juno Reactor has always been and act to play add anything and everything to their sound and Giant is the "what the?" track of the album, being basically a Drum and Bass track played with real drums and some nasty bass that would make DnB purists proud. I like this track, but I feel it is also the weak point of the album simply because the recording of the drums isn't up to par with the rest of the album, or even the track. Coming from an audio background I understand just how hard drums are to record well, but the fact remains that the drums are a hair flat. Else wise it is a nice nasty track that probably would sound great if the rest of the album wasn't so well recorded.

War Dogs is next and again, there is a small issue with the recording of the drums. They aren't as much of an issue as in Giant, but they still are a little flat. That said, its a small complaint here and the ethnic, somewhat Indian sounding breakdowns and vocals I love. There is some more Spanish guitar and even some crunchy guitar bits in the background (although by no means are we talking heavy metal here).

Next up is Mona Lisa Overdrive, famous from the car chase seen in Matrix Reloaded. For some reason I was never super impressed with the track in the movie itself, however being able to hear it here, without the movie and a million sound effects getting in the way I can see that this is actually a good track. Again, loads of percussion, loads of orchestral stuff. Its epic and I like it.

Next is Zwara, which was released as a single several month back and thus probably familiar to many fans so not much comment is needed here. Enough to say that it fits the vibe of the album perfectly. Mutant Message starts off as a moody down tempo number. Again, the usually elements are here (percussion, strings, etc) which focuses on some quiet, heavily echoed piano lines before getting thick and dirty, breaking down and getting dirty again to close it off.

Together with Conquistador 1 & 2, Angels and Men makes for the highlight of the album. Similar in vibe to the opening o the album, this slow spacious number is all about atmosphere, with a simple percussion line soaked in reverb providing the base for some more angelic female vocals, a droning clean arppegiated guitar line and various flyby lines and elements. This is down tempo music at its best.

Narvas closes of the album and should be familiar to anyone who has Matrix Revolutions as the closing track during the credits. Its huge, its epic and it closes the album since there is nothing that you could really follow it up with. Again, it sounds like some lost Bible of Dreams track on steroids and since this listener considers Bible of Dreams among the best albums ever, this is a good thing.

The end result - Despite some minor drum recording issues with Giant and War Dogs, this is an excellent album. While fans of straight up "club" psy-trance might not get too into Juno Reactor, people who are simply fans of good music should find a lot to like here. Good stuff!!!!