When you already have an incredibly impressive body of work like internationally-renowned electronic pioneer JUNO REACTOR, the ability to expand and continue breaking ground is almost impossible to fathom. With The Golden Sun Of The Great East, Juno Reactor’s eighth album, not only does Ben Watkins surpass those expectations, he dives deep into them too. Set for release on April 23, 2013 via Metropolis Records, the album further hones his exotic mix of surging trance beats, cinematic vision and lustrous world music flavors which characterized its predecessors.
“The title The Golden Sun Of The Great East was inspired by the vision of Shambhala. The story goes that everyone in the kingdom of Shambhala began to practice meditation and care for others by generating love and compassion,” he explains by quoting Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. “When we generate selfless love and compassion, we manifest tremendous power to help others and our planet. We are living in a very critical time – humanity is on a very precarious course. We mindlessly consume our natural resources and change our climate. Many people are searching for meaning outside of materialism and negativity. We need inspiration and vision. The Golden Sun Of The Great East represents the natural source of radiance and brilliance in the world which is the innate wakefulness of human beings. This is our primordial potential which we need to access now more than ever, which is why these Terma teachings are manifesting now at this particular point in the history of humanity.”
Outward thinking and deeply philosophical, his world view matches his music. Heady and hypnotic, The Golden Sun of The Great East motivates mind and body. From propulsive turbo-opener “Final Frontier” to the darker aesthetics of “Tempest” and “Zombie” to evocative satellite serenade finale “Playing With Fire” and its panoramic chorale of synths, strings and haunting voices, the album explores cultures and moods with equal gusto. “There was no one overriding focus to the album, just separate stories,” Ben explains. “For example, ‘Playing with Fire’ was written as the soundtrack to the mining disaster in Chile in 2010. I was glued to the internet when they came out one by one in [rescue capsule] The Phoenix. My heart was pumping and nervous, with all the people waiting and praying above ground. The claustrophobic conditions of the miners had been with me since the beginning of the accident, so I wrote it for them. That inspired me. Similarly, all of the tracks have a story in my head… Some I don’t mind sharing; others, I believe, are better for you to create your own.”
With a US tour currently being planned, Ben is preparing his music once again to blow away audiences with his legendary live shows. What exactly does he have in store? “In different parts of the world, I work with different line ups, from the Amazing Mutant theatre in Russia, to the fantastic musicians I have been touring with lately. [The US tour will have] Hamsika Iyer on vocals, Japanese guitar wunderkind Sugizo, Budgie (Siouxsie and the Banshees) on drums, dancer Mali Mazel on percussions, and Mabi on percussion.”
Juno Reactor’s music has been prominently featured in films and commercials such as Beowulf, both Matrix sequels, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Tomb Raider among many others. His last studio album Gods & Monsters was released on Metropolis in 2008. The Golden Sun Of The Great East will be released via Metropolis Records on April 23, 2013. US tour dates to be announced soon!