A Reason To Dance
A musical entity doesn’t exist for twenty years by mistake. Basement Jaxx’s latest release, Junto, is an affirmation of the British duo’s staying power in the dance music world. Junto samples and is influenced by traditional dance music with roots all around the world, and it incorporates Basement Jaxx’s revolutionary sound.
The album opens with an intro that samples both a trippy, futuristic female vocal welcoming you to the world of Basement Jaxx and some Native American-sounding drums and chanting. This aptly greets the listener to what they are about to experience. Songs like “Mermaids of Salinas” would be best danced to in the streets, preferably during a parade in a tropical climate in which people are dressed wildly. “Mermaids of Salinas” undoes most of what Pitbull has done to mankind’s ear drums.
Juntois diverse but it isn’t to be filed away in the “World Beats” section of some hipster record store to collect dust. “Unicorn” has that old school trance beat that can keep you dancing until your feet hurt and your ankles swell. It has that classic Basement Jaxx feel that made the duo famous all those years ago.
Basement Jaxx even have a short hip-hop/trap cut on Junto, “Buffalo.” Junto plays like a festival set. They have arranged their tracks in a way that brings the listener through their process, engaging the listener and their energy. They never let you get lulled into (too much of) a trance, nor do they burn you out with back to back hype tracks.
The last song on the album, “Love Is At Your Side,” is the kind of song that saves lives. It is uplifting and positive in a way that if it enters a person’s life at the right moment, it could make a serious impact. It is the kind of song that got people hooked on dance music way back when. The kind of song that makes you feel connected to that stranger sweating and dancing beside you.
Junto is hopeful. It believes in the music that has been bringing people together for decades. There is so much emphasis on community in dance music today, yet there are rifts between the subgenres, fans spending hours slinging hate over the internet because some kid in the middle of nowhere has only heard of Skrillex or Avicii, and artists squabbling amongst themselves. Basement Jaxx have survived all the bullshit and have put together an album that we can all just get over ourselves and dance to.