Feature Articles
Concert Reviews
CD Reviews
Radio Reviews
Club Scene
Photo Gallery
(see also our CD Review)

Juno Reactor
Dec 9th , 2000 
Queens, NY
~by Rev. Alexavier S. Strangerz 
from La Gurdia airport.  Dec 6th  05:15 
Check in time, and time to go home.

Mystery and power seem to be the items that run my life.  I love mystery, and I try to be open to the power of our mysterious Universe.  For years I have had the belief that a techno tribal rebirth of everything that has ever been will be eventual.  Old rituals will return, but to new arenas.  To new stages.  They shall develop with current rituals.  The ritual of e-mail, the ritual of guest list, the ritual of coat check, and the ritual of bar-keeps (a sacred and varying ritual, that I believe is older than we give credit.) Seriously though.  We have rituals we fallow to our own fulfillment, some we choose, and some are forced on us, and those are usually not so fulfilling.  What I shall try to explain was a mixture of old and new, I will try not to get into the aspect of ritual though, but the aspect of how fulfilled I became from the combination. 
New York.  It has been calling.  I have had a way to get there for many months.  It beckons, and yet I have been hesitant.  Metropolis managed to land two concurrent tours here at the same time.  Velvet Acid Christ, and Juno Reactor.  Both new albums are inspirational.  Funny that newer V.A.C.  reminds me of older Juno Reactor, with different samples, or a different 'vibe'.  Somehow I got the days off from all my projects.  This is mystery.  So I use my power to see if I should go to New York. 

V.A.C. is at the Limelight, a bit of a jaunt from La Guardia airport, but we can do it. 

Wait!  Juno Reactor is at the mysterious 'Voodoo Lounge' and even though I had to comb through to find it.  It is in Bayside (Queens) and only 17 min. driving time from the airport.  I am sold!  The answering message at the lounge  states, " doors at 7pm  this is an early show.  Grrrreat.  I can go to both shows then, right?  Well, no!  I don't know what you call an early show, but Dr. Alex Patterson (of the Orb go to )  did not start his DJ set until 10:30 p.m.  I don't know what time 'Juno Reactor' started, but we wandered around too long afterwards, and missed our 1:43 train, to give you an idea.  So, was I duped...  Not exactly.  Let me explain why.
Power is mystery.  Try to solve everything, and to put it into a completely logical and understandable order, and you will lose yourself to egotistic mania!  New York is one of those places where it cost to breath .  I will not divulge how much I spent on this show, but it was worth every penny!!!  You can not bottle and sell the power I gained from following my instincts, and making it to this 'show' (ritual disguised as a show.) 
The 'Voodoo Lounge' is smaller than imagined, yet this to me is a good thing.  I want to really be a part of this performance.  There is a little table towards the back of the main room.  It is right in front of the DJ booth.  You can hear the mix monitors the DJ's use to cue the next mix.  It is a nice effect, hearing the next piece before it comes through the speakers in front of you.  The place is thumpin'.  The DJ sees me grooving along at my table.  His self described mix of 'Progressive Trance' has the kind of tribal feel that is very appropriate for a 'Juno Reactor' show.  Just when I thought I knew what to expect, he drops the track down into an ambient escape, a wispy female voice fallows into the song.  Although the lyrics were inaudible, you could still sense the mix of joy and pain.  An emotional mix best brought forth by a feminine vocalist.  Return to the rhythm.  The stage now set, many drums on stage.  All had drums!  Bongos, congos, jimbeys, timbales. bells, and maybe even whistles.  A tribal back-drop, and a largely mirrored side wall, make the place seem expansive.  Yeah, this is going to be magikal. 
I try to imagine what the band looks like.  I have known of 'Juno Reactor' for years, yet I am not certain of the line-up, and my 'homework' , well I did not find a website on them until after the show! 

The DJ is Samsson, and he lays a CD of his mixes on me.  This is really cool.  I let him know it will get some play, and maybe a review, even if it is a bit out of genre.  I can't wait to dig into it.  His set had very few flaws. 

A few hours later<10:30>. Dr. Alex Patterson appears.  Here is a man that knows how to really throw you off guard.  He appears behind the innocent looking DJ tables, and starts playing a really loud noise.  Then Blue Room  a 12 to 40 minute Orb classic (depending on the version you have) starts to play.  Familiar rhythm, familiar voice, yet the rhythm gets stripped, and you get to here the house song, that actually made this hit so wondrous.  After this, the beat is not as easy to fallow, and he is changing records erratically.  A friend and I are trying to see what he is doing.   It is not easy.  I am starting to think he is testing us to see if we are worthy  of the Juno show.  No, wait, he has an onboard sampler, and is just building some odd syncopated elements.  It starts to fall together, and the familiar sample from 'little fluffy clouds' chimes In.  Recognizable material always gets a crowd going, but then  Fttttpppp.   Alex rips the record off, and starts a new mix.   This time we are all dazed, and the noise is different and loud.  It takes less than 30 seconds, and he has a Jungle beat going.  Over that he lays some serious DUB bass.  Jungle-Dub, and everybody is dancing (differently, but dancing.)  Kudos to Alex for having the balls to rip up those little fluffy clouds, so we could stomp all over them (industrial reference, on purpose.) The only thing I remember about the end of his set, was a sample 'are you ready' over and over.  Fitting,  very nice touch.  What I didn't expect (nor did anyone else from what I could tell), was five true to life, African Tribal drummers to wander onto the stage.  Later I asked a roadie who 'Juno Reactor' was, and he said one man named Ben.  Everyone else, musicians he collaborated with. 

Wow.  the rhythm starts off heavy, and Ben is in the back behind a mixing board.  I can see he has a guitar too.  This reminds me of 'System 7' (sans the live drummers.)   The drummer I respect the most has the design from the backdrop painted in white on his face. So he looks like the cover.  They all have face paint, and are wearing very little, but in that tribal way.  One drummer is very muscular, and his muscles move intensely, depending on the strength of his hits.   Another has only some shakers, and other smaller percussion items.  Yet he is the leader of the dances, of the mood.  He occasionally takes the moments between the powerful songs to talk to the audience.  He is a pleasant man, they all are.  I don't want to see them in an unpleasant mood.  For these are also serious men. Ben included.  One of the things that can be hard about live 'electronica' is not being able to see as much communication with band members.  Not here!  The drumming gets so intense, so quickly, you can see them breathing, to keep the flow, the momentum.  The drummer with the sigil, has sticks with rubber on them, and has so many drums to hit, in so many ways.   A true master.  I envy his skill.  The noise from the back sometimes seems like a stranger to the tribal frontmen.  Yet it always falls together.  The power is becoming awake around me.  A man in a Coil shirt dancing with a man in a Haujobb shirt (hey aren't they playing across the river?)  Girls are going nuts within their own ecstasy.  I try to keep up, but I am so sweaty, and I know I will be in the cold soon.  Samples are familiar, but how close are they sticking to 'scripts'.  Finally, the mood hits, the sample creeps form the mixer.  The drummers get going, and God is God  starts becoming more and more apparent.  Yes there is a definable structure.  I have been in trance for some 4 or 5 songs now, maybe more.  Yet this is my personal fave.  I am going to watch them up close.  Ouch!  What an experience.  It seems that Ben is triggering many sounds and samples live.  The back beat may be a sequence or tape.  Yet there is too much communication, and too much variance for him to be just mimicking a play along.  This is live, alive, and just the right ticket to remind me of the ethos I found in the S.F. rave scene of 1992-94.  The next song is Pistolero  a combination of tribal trance and salsa that has everybody in the mood to act like bandits.  I am very impressed with the number of people who know this one!  From the latest release, it gets all the tired out dancers, back to the floor for another round. I rested after this one.  There was some talk from our delegate.  Talk of mixed cultures , of friendly faces, and of good dancing.  He is a great spokesman, especially with his thick accent.  This is New York, and a thick accent does not mean you don't have something worth saying!  I am convinced.  I am at the Voodoo Lounge, and the bass is ripping like 'THUNDER'  girls and guys both dance like they are shaggin' the music itself.  Tribesmen, beating the war drums.  In peace!  For now.  And invoking within our presence, the power of an Orishian God.  Shango =  Chango. 

The mystery solved, the power experienced.  Fallow those feelings, and don't forget your dancing shoes!!!

Juno Reactor Web Presence:

Metropolis Records Webpresence: