In 2015, Stilz published his sci-fi album Judicator on Retro Promenade. It was freebut you could tell there was unwavering support for it. It sounded so beautiful. It was QN amalgamation of all of my favorite sci-fi flicks: Ghost in the Shell, Equilibrium, Akira, Tron. I loved it. To my surprise, I heard it was being reissued and mastered for cassettes, along with a bonus track, three new remixes by upcoming Dark-Synth masters Volkor X, EMMETT BROWN, and DevilRazor, including a bonus remix track of a song by Floydshavious by Stilz. I was hyped, to say the least.
The first track, “Intro”, gives us an imaginary look at a cyberpunk city reminiscent of Blade Runner, and the title track after that gives us maybe some sort of back story or maybe a present crime the Judicator is stopping, and the leading into “Electric Nights” makes it feel like part two of the album title track, just more groovy and fast paced.
“Nova City Sector 3” definitely shines bright here, as lights from the Vindicate Kingdom Police chase after the Judicator and scour the city, creating checkpoints in the beats and patterns.
“Tetsuo” was my favorite track from the original RP release, featuring wavepunk artist The TCR, who is also working on a new album. This track really got me into the album, and it made me invested in Stilz’s other works, like Quadrant 457 and Traveller.
“Dont Look Back” without a doubt is the best track on the album, no lie, the aggressive feelings it has makes me think of a knife fight mixed with wall running and cybernetic lingo being spouted with each strike of the leg of fist. “Pursuit” definitely is the companion track to “Don’t Look Back”, they both feel similar, but they both stand out in terms of pace and instrument use. “Dream Sequence” is a slow building escape from reality that turns into some kind of Matrix song (even though I don’t like The Matrix(I do however like The Animatrix)).
The new track “Desire”, really caught me off guard. I was actually expecting some kind of romantic track, long and atmospheric. I got exactly what I wanted plus the dark and gritty feel I love from this album.
“Scanner” is the second collaboration track on Judicator, this time with The Encounter aka Nigel Silva. The two collaborated on Nigel’s track “Prime Directives” from his new RoboCop LP in May(which I’m hyped for). Its amazing how much an ambient track quickly turns into a parkour scene off of high-rises, leaping through windows and jumping off of people. Its amazing. “Moonlight Prowler” has to be my second favorite track actually, an unusual choice. Its slow for the most point, but it creeps me rightfully out. And finally for the non remixed tracks, we have “The Eyes Follow”. It is indeed an ending track, and with the same slow dance-y feel to it like a lot of Stilz’s tracks, it works immensely for a resolution.
Now for the remixes. In the original RP release there was Who Ha, Renz Wilde, and Holon remixing tracks. Who Ha and Renz Wilde each remixed “Electric Nights”, and as Who Ha described the remix he made, it made me go “unf”. Holon’s remix of “Judicator” was perfect, and its a shame the remixes aren’t on the reissue. I am perfectly happy with the three new remixes, though.
Volkor X’s remix of “Dont Look Back” is indeed what I so desperately wanted from a cyberpunk album, building tension and atmosphere, having room for dialogue before the action, getting those story elements filled out in your head before just diving into deadly wicked stunts.
EMMETT BROWN’s remix of “Electric Nights” reminds me plentily of Giorgio Moroder for a good reason, its creepy and loud but stays slow a bit, while keeping the disco pace of the original version of the track.
DevilRazor’s remix of “Dont Look Back” makes me loom around the corners to see if anyone is there, reach for a pocket knife I know isn’t there, call out names in a desperate attempt to establish contact with civilization, just before the fire burns me alive and everything goes black. This remix goes way hard for me, A+666.
Stilz also remixed a track of Floydshavious’, as apparent on Stilz’s page as Floydshavious is credited. You’ll find out. This album is golden.
Final score: 10/10.