The majority of science fiction fans have, at the very least, a soft spot for the adventures of Judge Dredd, Brit comic 2000 AD’s unrelenting and iconic administrator of futuristic street justice. Sly Stallone’s clunky attempt to bring the gun-toting cop to the big screen is fading from memory and theres’ a new, grittier Hollywood reboot on the way, so what better time for Portishead/Beak> main man Geoff Barrow and widely admired composer Ben Salisbury to dream up this tribute to Dredd’s mighty home city.
The duo’s musical tribute is a satisfying experience, firmly in line with the grim but dazzling urban landscapes Dredd’s patrolled since first being drawn in 1977.
This stripped down, highly inventive electronica owes plenty to the soundtrack work of John Carpenter and Giorgio Moroder, and shares a degree of common ground degree of common ground with latter-day prog instrumentalists like Zombi. Sonic snapshots Helmet Theme and 301-305 are bleak and eerie, Exhale an ominous ambient swathe.
Would they conjure mental pictures of crime-ravaged Mega City One had it not been name-checked? Either way, this is an often spine-tingling evocation of an ageless vision of the future.