How much guts does it take to make music that’s already been made before? And how much more when the style of music is one that’s not particularly popular? These opening lines are not intended to say that Judgement of Paris are outright plagiarists or have no interesting ideas of their own. However, as I listened to both of these records, I could never shake the feeling that I’d heard this music before in any number of ethno-ambient-darkwave-ish David Sylvian projects.
Having said that, every music scene is chiefly populated by outright copycats, imitators, and fans who really haven’t figured out that while mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, its not the best way of making good music.
Qualitywise, there’s nothing WRONG, per se, here. The recording and the performances are flawless, perhaps TOO flawless, though. Caveat: my ears have been soaking in mostly warm, lo-fi murk these days. While the execution of the ideas Judgement of Paris had was pretty much spot-on, the actual quantity thereof may have been in short supply here. There’s really not much here that you can’t find on any number of other artist’s records. There’s also nothing here that’s going to turn you into a fan of quiet, dark, male-vocaled music either.
I have the feeling that to truly appreciate records like these, you have to be a fan. There are probably a number of subtleties and intricacies to Judgement of Paris’ music that just aren’t obvious or apparent to the casual listener (or the non-casual reviewer). This style of music isn’t known for proselytizing. I guess the answers to my questions are this: it may not take guts to remake already done styles, just a highly personal muse, one that’s indifferent to the rest of the world and its nay-sayers.
Written by Pearson Greer.