From its opening track "Windswept" to its closer "Eleven," Judgement of Paris' ambitious 18-track debut juxtaposes organic and inorganic sound sources, evoking post-apocalyptic sirens, Middle Eastern textures, nursery-rhyme bells, Native American ceremony, images of medieval liturgy, and the twisted wee hours of rave ecstasy. Using a combination of live keyboards and sequences, fretless electric bass, acoustic and electric guitars, woodwinds, hammer dulcimer, and a variety of percussion instruments, the band has produced a darkly textured and often hypnotic sound. Recorded live to DAT over a one-month period in late 1991, Conversion brings to mind such varied artists as Dead Can Dance, Fatboy Slim, David Sylvian, and early Pink Floyd. This is obviously a young band without a definitive sound, but the resulting eclecticism coupled with a surprising compositional maturity is wonderfully intriguing. "Reign" appears to be an homage to Bach's organ preludes. "Spheres of Influence" makes a breathtaking midstream shift from dancefloor highlife to a creamy slice of mutant bluegrass. The tintinnabulations of the triptych "Denial (Part One)," "Denial (Part Two)," "Denial (Part Three)" shift like the images in a fun-house mirror, culminating in a dizzying mix of resonant vocals, chiming dulcimer, churning guitar and a maelstrom of keyboard sweeps and gurgles. The final result is flawed but breathtaking.
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AllMusic Review by Sanz Lashley