Named after Paris (the Greek mythological figure called upon to judge the most beautiful of the goddesses), Judgement of Paris existed for a short period in the early 90s, producing two exquisite albums characteristically unlike any other American group of the time. Judgement of Paris brought together elements from the Middle Ages and the Middle East, layering them in a pop context with keyboards, guitars, hammered dulcimer, percussion and ethereal male vocals. Comparisons to David Sylvian's Japan are all the more revealing now, as this is intelligent pop music for a global world. Hailing from Minneapolis, Judgement of Paris' Conversion was released in 1992 on the C'est La Mort label, while Signal was released in 1994 on the band’s own label.
"Because of the nature of Judgement of Paris' music, the band can often be compared to Xymox, Japan or Dead Can Dance. But the members have developed their own conventions for creativity, and their resuscitative music becomes difficult to etch into a particular time period.” (ALTERNATIVE PRESS)
"A shimmering, polished display of the band’s majestic sound… beautifully stirring vocal melodies encompass well-crafted lyrics in a larger-than-life vocal style that perfectly compliments the diverse instrumentation." (MANIFESTO)
Judgement of Paris is:
Christian Erickson | Bradley Hanson | Joel Hanson | Richard Werbowenko
The music on this compact disc was recorded live to DAT with no overdubs between December 1992 and February 1993.
A review from Expose, March 2001
Judgement of Paris was a Minneapolis band formed in the early 1990's; they recorded two albums and called it quits. Their music is a very pleasant sounding blending of gothic, ambient and eastern sounds, creating sparse soundscapes. The instrumentation is made up of drum, guitar, hammered dulcimer and flute. Use of the beautiful hammered dulcimer really sets this band apart, and adds to the dreamy quality of their music. The group has been compared to Dead Can Dance and Japan, but their music goes way beyond those comparisons. Yes, the singer does have a very David Sylvian quality to his voice, but that's okay. The songs are subtle excursions into pop ambience, where synth textures a la Roach rise up and are taken over by dulcimer and guitar. I can't listen to this without thinking of Brian Eno, his music being very similar sounding and beautiful. Judgement of Paris has that same effect on you. Take "Luminous"; primal, tribal textures warble in an echo, then an Egyptian flute rises, it's notes bouncing around the inner chamber of the pyramid - these guys are from Minnesota? Signal
was recorded live to DAT in 1991, Conversion
in 1993. Signal
has longer songs, the band choosing to have each song be a blend of ambient drone and gothic pop. The result is pretty damn satisfying; dark synth drones with Middle Eastern feel. On Conversion
the songs are shorter, they've separated the vocal tracks and the instrumental, but the basic sound has remained unchanged. Judgement of Paris consists of Christian Erickson, Bradley Hanson and Joel Hanson; the fourth member changed from Richard Werbowenko to Ian Dittbrenner; no mention is given as to who played what. Both albums are filled out with further rarities, Signal
has tracks from the Tangents
EP, while Conversion
has some unfinished works. In all Projekt has released two very good treasures I highly recommend. -Dane Carlson