Judgement Of Paris

Judgement Of Paris

Conversion

Signal

Projekt

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….

While Conversion is an amazing album that any serious goth fan or dark/tribal ambient aficionado needs in their collection, Signal leaves much to be desired. In fact, I can’t name one track from it that I really liked. Most of the cool instrumentation featured on Conversion all but disappears on Signal, replaced by wave after wave of monotonous synth constructions. Instead of cool instrumentals, we get almost all vocal pieces, which might be OK if we could at least make out what the vocalist is saying under the heavy electronic overburden, but no go. Although there are a number of cool keyboard melodies scattered here and there on the disc, they don’t come together to go anywhere, leaving me wondering what catastrophe befell Judgement of Paris between the brilliant and inventive Conversion and the extremely disappointing Signal.

Projekt/Darkwave, P.O. Box 166155, Chicago, IL 60616; http://www.projekt.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • General Magic
    General Magic

    General Magic invented the smart phone in 2002, but just couldn’t get it to market. That’s just how they rolled.

  • Blue October
    Blue October

    Alternative 90s rockers Blue October rolled into Central Florida for a two-night run at House of Blues, and Michelle Wilson was blown away.

  • Pahokee
    Pahokee

    Pahokee produces sugar cane and poverty, but some the brighter students might make it to the big time with a college degree and a new zip code.

  • Sumo Princess
    Sumo Princess

    When An Electric Storm. (Educational Recordings) Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Laura Valle
    Laura Valle

    Charismatic. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Ramen Shop
    Ramen Shop

    A young man searches for the secrets of his family and great Ramen.

  • Southern Avenue
    Southern Avenue

    Keep On (Concord Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Don Felder
    Don Felder

    Don Felder took music fans down Eagles’ memory lane at Disney Epcot’s® Garden Rocks Concert Series, and Michelle Wilson loved every nostalgic moment of it.

  • Alfred Sergel IV
    Alfred Sergel IV

    Alfred Sergel IVtet (The Tam Tam Group). Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Tanika Charles
    Tanika Charles

    The Gumption (Record Kicks). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives