Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman are the co-producers of 1 Giant Leap
, although it's the latter who has the hands-on role of multi-instrumentalist, recordist and mixologist, providing each song's backbone. The duo jaunted around the world, snatching vocal performances from mainstream pop artists as well as masters of the more traditionally "purist" folk forms, the policy being to record each guest with a laptop, in or near their homes. There was the obvious danger of Deep Forestation, but at least 1 Giant Leap have engaged in active collaboration rather than long-distance sampling.
Most of the tracks are homogenised into a 4/4-beat, programmed backing, with all the ethnic elements arranged neatly around this central pulse. On "My Culture" this results in a frightening face-off between the rapping conviction of Maxi Jazz and the bland pop penetration of Robbie Williams, a perverse presence indeed. "The Way You Dream" risks more, with Bollywood queen Asha Bhosle paving an incandescent way for Michael Stipe's fragile warble, the piece rising through three movements in epic fashion. Other highlights include Baaba Maal's striking call to prayer on the spacey-wafting "Dunya Salam", Arrested Development's Speech intertwining well with Neneh Cherry on "Braided Hair" and the more involved fusion of "Passion", with Michael Franti intoning poetry over massed voices, drums and wooden xylophones. --Martin Longley
Ex-Faithless member Jamie Catto with Michael Stipe ; Michael Franti and others!