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:
Ian Dittbrenner | Christian Erickson | Bradley Hanson | Joel Hanson
The music on this compact disc was recorded live to DAT in October and November 1991.
Originally released on C'est La Mort in 1992.
A review from Ink19.com
Judgement Of Paris appeared in Minneapolis in the early 1990s, recorded two albums, then disappeared. Now Projekt's Archive series brings us two newly remastered versions of these albums on CD, together with several bonus tracks on each.
From gothic to tribal, ambient to Renaissance, Conversion blends ancient and modern sounds into a haunting and moving work of genius. Points of comparison include Dead Can Dance, Eden, and Love is Colder Than Death, but Conversion is really in a class of its own. How many bands do you know that can take synth, Native American flute, hammer dulcimer, and drums, and combine them into an exquisite and seamless whole? Somehow Judgement Of Paris manages that on this album, and more.
There's not a track on Conversion that I don't like; just when I thought I'd heard the best one yet, I'd get to the next, and find a new favorite. About half the tracks are instrumentals, such as the amazing "One," which paints a vision of a ritual of renewal with insect-fluttering synth, outstanding Native American flute, and hollow guitars against the backdrop of a dark drone; as the shaman mutters an incantation into the firelit cave, spirits whirl in the dancing sparks, petroglyphs shift and shimmer on the walls, and a deep feeling of sacred peace reunites your shattered spirit.
The tracks with vocals on Conversion are just as good, and maybe better, tending more in a goth than tribal direction. "Spheres of Influence" is a good example. After dark ambient synth sets the scene, drums, hammer dulcimer, and beautiful male voice kick in, along with an excellent driving guitar line and dreamlike lyrics about shades who "know enough to close their hollow eyes / when we try to see behind." Or the very spooky but also very danceable title track, with rhythmic guitar, electronic percussion, and deep dark synth animating lyrics about the creative spirit that slumbers within each of us, and its awakening....
- Dave Aftandilian
A review from Satan Stole My Teddybear, July 2000
Album of the Month
Judgement of Paris was a Minnesota band that spent the early part of the 90s plying their unique wares to sporadic accolades and interest. Their lifespan lasted until 1994, when they disbanded and most likely would have faded away into total obscurity were it not for Projekt Archives reissuing their two albums complete with extra tracks. And for this, fans of warm, soft and lush music should rejoice, as Judgement of Paris is simply a phenomenal outfit deserving of much attention and praise.
The band's sound is somewhat similar to Dead Can Dance without the vocal acrobatics. Their music is a very serene and calming entity, relying on a whole spectrum of musical instruments to get their sound across. Vocals are sparse throughout, but are highly appropriate when they are used. This album is the kind of precious album you put on late at night with someone you love, to share a tender moment together with candles burning. The mood created is the kind of sound you can fall in love to. The slightly exotic nature of the music matched with the intense warmth make this such an incredibly precious record. Conversion simply demands to be played as a whole and is very quick in converting you into a fan of the music. Robust and alive, magic and deeply inviting, Judgement of Paris' Conversion is truly an overlooked gem that is finally being given a second chance. -- Review by John Chedsey