NME Poll Winners – The 1980s

Throughout the 1980s, the NME Poll Winners suffered without an annual ceremony where they could drink lots and vomit on the politicians of the day. Overshadowed by the more popular BPI Awards and British Rock & Pop Awards, it’s notable by the late eighties that contemporary pop has been eschewed altogether by NME’s readership.

Oh, and you might enjoy the slightly questionable choices for “human being of the year”…

1980

  • Best Group: The Jam
  • Best New Act: UB40
  • Best Male Singer: Paul Weller
  • Best Guitarist: Paul Weller
  • Best Drummer: Rick Buckler
  • Best Songwriter: Paul Weller
  • Best Bassist: Bruce Foxton
  • Best Keyboardist: Dave Greenfield
  • Best Other Instrumentalist: Saxa
  • Best Single: The Jam, for Going Underground
  • Best Album: The Jam, for Sound Affects
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: The Jam, for Sound Affects
  • Best Disc Jockey: John Peel
  • Best Dressed Person: Adam Ant
  • Haircut of the Year: Eugene Reynolds
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Paul Weller
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • Event of the Year: Death of John Lennon
  • TV Programme: Not the Nine O’Clock News
  • Movie of the Year: The Elephant Man

1981

  • Best Group: The Jam
  • Best New Act: Altered Images
  • Most Missed Person: John Lennon
  • Best Songwriter: Paul Weller
  • Best Female Singer: Siouxsie Sioux
  • Best Male Singer: David Bowie
  • Best Single: The Specials, for Ghost Town
  • Best LP: Echo and the Bunnymen, for Heaven Up Here
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: Echo and the Bunnymen, for Heaven Up Here
  • Best Guitarist: Paul Weller
  • Best Bassist: Bruce Foxton
  • Best Drummer: Rick Buckler
  • Best Keyboardist: Dave Greenfield
  • Best TV Programme: Coronation Street
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel
  • Best Film: Gregory’s Girl
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Paul Weller
  • Best Dressed Person: Michael Foot
  • Creep of the Year: Adam Ant*

* The NME website says “Adam Andy” but I suspect this must be a typo – please correct me if you disagree!

1982

  • Best Group: The Jam
  • Best Male Singer: Paul Weller
  • Best Female Singer: Siouxsie Sioux
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Paul Weller
  • Best Songwriter: Paul Weller
  • Best Single: The Jam, for Town Called Malice
  • Best Longplayer: The Jam, for The Gift
  • Best Live Act: The Jam
  • Best Dancefloor Favourite: Wham!, for Young Guns (Go for It)
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: Siouxsie and the Banshees – A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
  • Event of the Year: The Jam Split
  • Best Dressed Male: Paul Weller
  • Best Dressed Female: Siouxsie Sioux
  • Best Haircut: Paul Weller
  • Best Electronics: Vince Clarke
  • Best Guitarist: Paul Weller
  • Best Bassist: Bruce Foxton
  • Best Drummer: Rick Buckler
  • Best Miscellaneous Instrument: The Emerald Express, Violin
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel
  • Best Music Video: Madness, for House of Fun
  • Best TV Show: The Young Ones
  • Best Film: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

1983

  • Best Group: New Order
  • Best New Act: The Smiths
  • Best Dressed Female: Siouxsie Sioux
  • Female Singer: Siouxsie Sioux
  • Songwriter: Elvis Costello
  • Male Singer: David Bowie
  • Best Dressed Male: David Bowie
  • Best Long Player: Elvis Costello, for Punch the Clock
  • Best Single: New Order, for Blue Monday
  • Best Film: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
  • Best Promo Video: Michael Jackson, for Thriller
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Paul Weller
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • TV Show: The Tube
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: New Order, for Power, Corruption and Lies
  • Best Radio Programme: John Peel
  • Best Guitarist: The Edge
  • Best Drummer: Budgie
  • Best Miscellaneous Musician: The TKO Horns
  • Best Bassist: Peter Hook
  • Best Keyboardist: Steve Nieve

1984

  • Best Group: The Smiths
  • Best New Act: Bronski Beat
  • Best Reggae Act: Smiley Culture
  • Best Soul Act: Womack & Womack
  • Best TV Show: The Tube
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel
  • Best Single: Frankie Goes to Hollywood, for Relax
  • Best LP: Cocteau Twins, for Treasure
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: Frankie Goes to Hollywood, for Welcome to the Pleasuredome
  • Promo Video: Frankie Goes to Hollywood, for Two Tribes
  • Best Film: Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Best Male Singer: Bono
  • Best Songwriter: Morrissey / Johnny Marr
  • Best Female Singer: Elizabeth Fraser
  • Best Instrumentalist: Johnny Marr
  • Best Dressed Person: Paul Weller
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Arthur Scargill

1985

  • Best Group: The Smiths
  • Best New Act: The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • Best Male Singer: Morrissey
  • Best Female Singer: Elizabeth Fraser
  • Best Songwriter: Morrissey / Johnny Marr
  • Best Single: The Jesus and Mary Chain, for Never Understand
  • LP of the Year: The Smiths, for Meat is Murder
  • Best Soul/Funk Band: Cameo
  • Best Reggae Act: UB40
  • Best Live Act: The Pogues
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Bob Geldof
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • Best Dressed: Morrissey
  • Worst Dressed: Bob Geldof
  • Best Haircut: Morrissey
  • Worst Haircut: Feargal Sharkey
  • Biggest Mouth: Bob Geldof
  • Best Film: Letter to Brezhnev
  • Best TV Programme: The Old Grey Whistle Test
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel
  • Best Video: Talking Heads, for Road to Nowhere
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: The Pogues, for Rum, Sodomy and the Lash
  • Best Hype: The Jesus and Mary Chain

1986

  • Best Single: The Smiths, for Panic
  • Best LP: The Smiths, for The Queen is Dead
  • Best Male Singer: Morrissey
  • Best Female Singer: Elizabeth Fraser
  • Best Group: The Smiths
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Morrissey
  • Best Club/Venue: Town & Country Club
  • Best Dance Record: Cameo, for Word Up
  • Threat of the Year: AIDS
  • Sex Symbol: Joanne Whalley
  • Event of the Year: 1986 FIFA World Cup
  • Best Film: Mona Lisa
  • Best TV Show: The Singing Detective
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • Best New Music: The Housemartins
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel

1987

  • Best Group: The Smiths
  • Best Single: Prince, for Sign O The Times
  • Best LP: The Smiths, for Strangeways Here We Come
  • Male Singer: Morrissey
  • Best Female Singer: Suzanne Vega
  • Best New Act: The Proclaimers
  • Best Dance Record: M/A/R/R/S, for Pump Up the Volume
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Morrissey
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher
  • Bad News of the Year: Another Conservative Victory at the General Election
  • Safe Sex: Morrissey
  • Radio: John Peel
  • Best TV Programme: Brookside
  • Best Film: Angel Heart
  • Event of the Year: Nuclear Agreement

1988

  • Best Band: The Wedding Present
  • Solo Artist: Morrissey
  • Best New Band/Act: The House of Love
  • Best Single: The House of Love, for Destroy the Heart
  • Best LP: R.E.M., for Green
  • Best TV Show: Brookside
  • Ugly Bastard of the Year: Bros (collective award)
  • Object of Desire of the Year: Wendy James
  • Film of the Year: A Fish Called Wanda
  • Favourite NME Cover of 1988: Morrissey
  • Best Night Out: The Wedding Present
  • Radio Show of the Year: John Peel
  • Stimulant of the Year: Acid
  • Event of the Year: Nelson Mandela‘s Birthday Bash
  • Bad News of the Year: US Election Result
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Morrissey
  • Creep of the Year: Margaret Thatcher

1989

  • Band of the Year: The Stone Roses
  • LP of the Year: The Stone Roses, for The Stone Roses
  • Single of the Year: The Stone Roses, for Fool’s Gold
  • Best New Band/Artist: The Stone Roses
  • Best Solo Artist: Morrissey
  • Best Dance Record: Happy Mondays, for WFL
  • Hype of the Year: Batman
  • Object of Desire: Wendy James
  • Radio Show: John Peel
  • TV Show: Blackadder
  • Film of the Year: Dead Poets’ Society
  • Fashion of the Year: Flares
  • Club/Venue of the Year: The Haçienda
  • Event of the Year (Music): Reading Festival
  • Event of the Year (Real Life): Revolution in Eastern Europe
  • Bastard of the Year: Margaret Thatcher

See also

The Best of the BRIT Awards

The 2016 BRIT Awards take place tonight, but unfortunately (well, fortunately, for me) I’m actually on holiday right now, so I’ll have to catch up when I’m back. In the meantime, here’s something I knocked up a few weeks ago – you could call it The BRIT Award Awards, or perhaps The Best of the BRIT Awards.

I’ve gone through each of the previous ceremonies, and worked out the most nominated and winning artists for each category. So here goes! For the most part, we’ll be using the current awards and names.

British Male Solo Artist

  • Phil Collins. Won 1986, 1989, 1990.
  • George Michael. Won 1988, 1997.
  • Cliff Richard. Won 1977, 1982. Nominated 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990.
  • Paul Weller. Won 1995, 1996, 2009.
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003.

The winner is Robbie Williams, with four wins. Honourable mention to Ed Sheeran for scraping into sixth place.

International Male Solo Artist

  • Beck. Won 1997, 1999, 2000.
  • Eminem. Won 2001, 2003, 2005.
  • Prince. Won 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996.
  • Justin Timberlake. Won 2004, 2007. Nominated 2014.
  • Kanye West. Won 2006, 2008, 2009.

Winner: Prince, and an honourable mention for Bruno Mars, for just missing out on the nominations.

British Female Solo Artist

  • Kate Bush. Won 1987. Nominated 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2006, 2012.
  • Dido. Won 2002, 2004. Nominated 2001.
  • Annie Lennox. Won 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996.
  • Alison Moyet. Won 1985, 1988. Nominated 1984, 1986, 2003.
  • Lisa Stansfield. Won 1991, 1992. Nominated 1990, 1993, 1995, 1998.

The winner is Annie Lennox, a tearaway success with six wins.

International Female Solo Artist

  • Beyoncé. Won 2004. Nominated 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015.
  • Björk. Won 1994, 1996, 1998. Nominated 2002, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2016.
  • Madonna. Won 2001, 2006. Nominated 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999.
  • Kylie Minogue. Won 2002, 2008. Nominated 1989, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2011.
  • Rihanna. Won 2011, 2012. Nominated 2008, 2010, 2013.

The winner is Björk, much loved and much deserved.

British Group

  • Arctic Monkeys. Won 2007, 2008, 2014. Nominated 2012.
  • Coldplay. Won 2001, 2003. 2012. Nominated 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016.
  • Manic Street Preachers. Won 1997, 1999.
  • Simply Red. Won 1993, shared win 1992.
  • Travis. Won 2000, 2002.

The winner, with three wins and rather more nominations than Arctic Monkeys, is Coldplay!

International Group

  • Bon Jovi. Won 1996. Nominated 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990.
  • Foo Fighters. Won 2008, 2012, 2015. Nominated 1996, 2003.
  • Kings of Leon. Won 2009. Nominated 2004, 2008, 2011, 2014.
  • R.E.M. Won 1992, 1993, 1995. Nominated 1997, 1999, 2002.
  • U2. Won 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2001. Nominated 1992, 1993, 1994, 2005, 2006, 2016. Nominated for British Group 1985, 1986.

Winner: with five wins, U2.

British Producer of the Year

  • Brian Eno. Won 1994, 1996. Nominated 1988.
  • Flood. Co-won 2014. Nominated 1994, 1995, 2012, 2013.
  • Trevor Horn. Won 1983, 1985, 1992. Nominated 1984, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1995.
  • David A. Stewart. Won 1986, 1987, 1990. Nominated 1992.
  • Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Won 1988. Nominated 1987, 1990, 1992. Pete Waterman nominated separately in 1993.

Winner: Trevor Horn.

British Single

Adele and Coldplay tie for fifth and sixth place in the nominations, so we have six nominees:

  • Adele. Won 2013. Nominated 2009, 2012, 2016.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1995 (again), 1996, 1998, 2000.
  • Coldplay. Won 2006. Nominated 2001, 2009, 2013.
  • Queen. Won 1977, 1992.
  • Take That. Won 1993, 1994, 1996, 2007, 2008. Nominated 1993 (twice more!)
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2000, 2001. Nominated 1998, 1999 (again), 2002, 2013.

Winner: Take That, with an honourable mention for Robbie Williams for taking part in several of their wins too.

British Artist Video

There are seven nominees in this category, because four artists are tied for the bottom position, with one win and two nominations.

  • All Saints. Won 1998. Nominated 1999, 2001.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1996 (twice), 1998.
  • The Cure. Won 1990. Nominated 1991, 1993.
  • Peter Gabriel. Won 1987. Nominated 1993, 1994.
  • One Direction. Won 2014, 2015. Nominated 2016.
  • Spice Girls. Won 1997. Nominated 1997 (again), 1998.
  • Robbie Williams. Won 1999, 2000, 2001. Nominated 1999 (again), 2002 (twice).

Winner: Robbie Williams.

British Album

Six nominees again for this one:

  • Arctic Monkeys. Won 2007, 2008, 2014.
  • Blur. Won 1995. Nominated 1996, 2004.
  • Coldplay. Won 2001, 2003. Nominated 2006, 2009, 2012, 2016.
  • Florence + The Machine. Won 2010. Nominated 2012, 2016.
  • Manic Street Preachers. Won 1997, 1999. Nominated 1997.
  • Oasis. Won 1996. Nominated 1995, 1998.

That’s a decisive win for Arctic Monkeys!

And that’s your lot! If it seems a slightly odd list, think of it as a list of the typical nominees and winners at the BRITs. If you’re more interested in the ceremony that’s about to happen, that would be here.

Anyway, enjoy the ceremony tonight, and we’ll catch up on the results here very soon.

Utah Saints – Two

The seven-year gap between Utah Saints (reviewed previously here) and Two (2000) must have seemed interminable to Utah Saints fans at the time, although it pales into insignificance when compared to the fifteen-year gap which has come since. But in those seven years of one-off singles, Leeds-based Utah Saints managed to find a mature sound which failed to make much of an impact on the charts, but was excellent nonetheless.

Their second album (they clearly struggle with names), Two opens with a gentle piece called Sun before launching into the lively Power to the Beats, the third single from the album. It’s a good place to start, sounding not entirely unlike the Utah Saints hits of the early 1990s, although without the samples that made them so famous. It wasn’t a hit, although that was partly because the CD wasn’t eligible for the UK charts.

First single Love Song comes next, with its enormous pounding beats. It’s a great track, but the record buying public of 2000 clearly wasn’t too bothered, as it barely scraped into the top forty. Which is a shame – it may not have the catchy charm of What Can You Do for Me or Believe in Me, but it’s far from bad.

Final single Lost Vagueness is one of the best tracks on here, but was entirely overlooked on its release the following year. Chrissie Hynde‘s weirdly synthesised vocals mix wonderfully with the almost symphonic backing. It’s great, but in the context of this album it forms a part of something even stronger.

This was, perhaps, the problem with Two – commercial success tends to come from singles, and whereas Utah Saints had plenty, Two is a more coherent, and much more complete release. Few tracks stand out, because the general level of quality is so high across the board.

As a fun deviation, Michael Stipe from R.E.M. turns up on a number of tracks, including Punk Club, which samples him largely listing cities in the US, which makes for an odd track, but sounds great nonetheless.

More of that later, but for now the album’s one hit single Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On, which sees Chuck D singing over an enormous driving industrial dance beat. Although actually, apart from the vocal, there isn’t a lot to this track, so you could be forgiven for not being too keen. Again, in the album context, it fits very nicely indeed.

The pleasant didgeridoo-fashioned instrumental Massive follows next, and then another Stipe conversation in the form of the brilliant Rhinoceros. This must be as filmic as music can really be, with its silent movie-style piano backing, and the farcical story (Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On) told in the vocals. Truly brilliant.

This mixes into the lovely, deep and gentle Morning Sun, before they flirt again with their rave roots on Sick, which surely must have been considered as a single at one point. But with the later tracks on the album it’s easy to just slip into the music, and enjoy the way it all fits together – B777 drifts into Techknowledgy and the lovely Three Simple Words, and suddenly closing track Wiggedy Wack is upon you.

Two is a great second album – definitely better than its predecessor – but the last fifteen years have not been kind to it. Not because it’s dated in the slightest, but just that everybody has long since forgotten about it. But it’s long overdue another listen, and as soon as you pick it up again, you’ll realise it’s pretty amazing.

You can still find Two at your local high street record shop.

Beginner’s guide to 1 Giant Leap

Initially an intriguing side-project to travel the world, recording the music from each location, and merging it all together into a strange mixture of different genres, Jamie Catto‘s 1 Giant Leap project has produced two truly fascinating albums.

Key moments

You may well remember the collaboration with Robbie Williams and Maxi Jazz, My Culture, or the follow-up Braided Hair.

Where to start

Start with the eponymous debut (2002) – in particular, The Way You Dream with Michael Stipe is an essential listen.

What to buy

That just leaves the second album What About Me? (2009), which is a little harder to get hold of. Copies are available on import. You could try the DVDs too, if you’re really feeling like something different.

Don’t bother with

The singles – they don’t add anything particular that you don’t have already.

Hidden treasure

All the treasure is on the two albums – they’re all you need.

For stowaways

Music for the Masses 10 – 23 February 2000

By February 2000, it seems Bay Radio was actually starting to run pretty smoothly, and my show was starting to go pretty well. Although I was still having problems with timing…

SHow10PL

Tracks played on the tenth show, Wed 23 Feb 2000, from 10.55am-1.00pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 12 tracks). A indicates A-list (6 tracks); B indicates B-list (3 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 9 tracks). L is the ones out of the drawer (Total 8 tracks).

  • 1. Corrs “Radio” L
  • [IRN 11.00 News]
  • 2. Dead Prez “Hip Hop” B
  • 3. REM “The Great Beyond” L
  • 4. Muse “Sunburn” C
  • 5. Kraftwerk “Expo 2000” R
  • [Guild Election Advert – 1]
  • 6. Sgt. Rock “Yeah Word Party” C
  • 7. Jean Michel Jarre feat. Natacha Atlas “C’est la Vie” R
  • 8. Air feat. George Tracks “Playground Love” L
  • 9. Bluetones “Keep the Home Fires Burning” A
  • 10. Henrees “Half Crescent” A
  • 11. Everything But the Girl “Temperamental” R
  • 12. York “The Awakening” L
  • 13. Moby “Natural Blues” A
  • 14. Bellatrix “The Girl with the Sparkling Eyes” A
  • 15. Garbage “The World is Not Enough” L
  • [IRN 12.00 News]
  • 16. Enigma “Silence Must be Heard” R
  • 17. All Seeing I “1st Man in Space” R
  • 18. Wannadies “Yeah” S
  • 19. White Town “Wanted” (Vince Clarke Remix 2) R
  • 20. Andreas Johnson “Glorious” L
  • 21. Dark Star “Graceadelica” L
  • 22. Big Yoga Muffin “Is that How You?” A
  • 23. Electronic “Get the Message” R
  • 24. Coldplay “Shiver” B
  • 25. Brassy “Work it Out” A
  • 26. Groove Armada “At the River” R
  • 27. Southern Fly “Maybe It’s the Right Time” B
  • 28. Bob Marley vs. Funkstar de Luxe “Rainbow Country” L
  • 29. New Order “Blue Monday 88” R

Producer: None.

Notes: Umm… I think fairly normal and uneventful except when I started cursing Indie Rock bands for making their tracks too short (before the 12.00 news – off air, naturally).

Music for the Masses 1 – 17 November 1999

Hopefully you’ll excuse the interruption of normal service, because I stumbled across this in my archives and wanted to share it! Long before this blog existed, there was a student radio show called Music for the Masses, and the first ever show took place fifteen years ago today, on Aberystywth’s brand new student radio station, Bay Radio. The gaps in the playlist are the bits where I talked.

show1br

Tracks played on the first show, Wed 17 Nov 1999, from 11am-1pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 12 tracks). A indicates A-list (7 tracks); B indicates B-list (3 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 8 tracks). L indicates tracks we grabbed from the drawer to impress people (Total 9 tracks).

  • 1. Everything But The Girl “Before Today” R
  • 2. Garbage “The World is Not Enough” A
  • 3. Jamiroquai “Canned Heat” L
  • 4. Manchild “Return to the Dragon” C
  • 5. Gay Dad “Joy” L
  • 6. Offspring “She’s Got Issues” S
  • 7. R.E.M. “At My Most Beautiful” L
  • 8. New Order “World (The Price of Love)” R
  • 9. Amar “Red Sky” A
  • 10. Jean Michel Jarre “Oxygène 10” R
  • 11. Beastie Boys “Alive” A
  • 12. Cartoon “Alcoholic Show” L
  • 13. Murry The Hump “Colouring Book” A
  • [Advert Break]
  • 14. Barenaked Ladies “It’s All Been Done” L
  • 15. Spacedust “Let’s Get Down” L
  • 16. Beloved “Sweet Harmony” R
  • 17. Primal Scream “Swastika Eyes” C
  • 18. Cast “Magic Hour” L
  • 19. Atomic Kitten “Right Now” B
  • 20. Pet Shop Boys “Happiness is an Option” R
  • 21. Roni Size/Reprazent “Watching Windows” L
  • 22. Wheat “Don’t I Hold You?” B
  • 23. Olive “Miracle” R
  • 24. Glamma Kid “Why?” L
  • 25. Saint Etienne “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” R
  • 26. Madonna “Nothing Really Matters” L
  • 27. Muse “Muscle Museum” A
  • 28. Depeche Mode “Only When I Lose Myself” R
  • [Advert Break]
  • 29. Aim & Kate Rogers “Sail” B
  • 30. Longpigs “The Frank Sonata” A
  • 31. James “We’re Going To Miss You” A

Producer: Mark (and, unofficially, Karl Homer)

Notes: A reasonable flow to the tracks, considering the complete lack of planning. A slight surplus of playlist tracks at the end meant that I over-ran by about 2 minutes. Odd selection of music I suppose, but given the limitations, this is unsurprising. Better luck next time!

1 Giant Leap – 1 Giant Leap

For me, the surprise hit of 2002 was 1 Giant Leap‘s debut album. Without warning, Jamie Catto, formerly of Faithless, and Duncan Bridgeman disappeared and travelled around the world, working variously with established western artists, stars of what I hesitatingly call “world music,” and less well known names, mixing together their vocals, instrumentation, atmosphere, and also (on the DVD, for this was also a “video album”) the visuals.

Being a mix of sounds from all over the world, it contains instruments and vocal styles that are almost totally alien to me, so I won’t try and describe the sound too much. But Dunya Salam, which opens the album, is gloriously atmospheric, with a deep synth sound, acoustic stylings, and what, if I had to guess, I would assume was a vocal from west Africa (having checked, Baaba Maal is indeed from Senegal).

The second track was also the first single, the brilliant My Culture, featuring vocals from Catto’s former band mate Maxi Jazz, and also Robbie Williams. The lyrics – particularly those delivered by Maxi Jazz – are typically expressive and evocative. With all the bits put together it somehow didn’t work too amazingly as a four minute pop song, but within the context of the album it works brilliantly.

“Only silence remains,” says the sample at the start of my favourite track The Way You Dream. The eastern stylings of the introduction gradually build over a few minutes into something very powerful. Without warning, it’s then Michael Stipe of R.E.M. who turns up to deliver the lead vocal.

I’m not sure I ever really appreciated quite how good a vocalist Stipe is, and he’s in extremely good company on this album. Also performing on this track, for example, is Asha Bhosle, as in Brimful of Asha, the 1997 hit from Cornershop. And the many other things which I should feel ashamed for not knowing her for.

If I had one criticism, it’s that all the geographical cross-mixing can make the album can feel a little disjointed in places. In the context of the “one world” theme of the album, the jump to Ma’ Africa is entirely logical, but the African gospel-style vocals of The Mahotella Queens could come as a bit of a surprise if you weren’t expecting it.

Next up is the second single, the slightly more complete but less catchy Braided Hair, with vocals from Speech and Neneh Cherry from off of the 1990s, which leads into the Maori sound of Ta Moko, with its incredibly moving spoken word introduction. Before you know it this has seamlessly passed the baton onto Bushes to kick off the second half of the album, and Baaba Maal is back with us again.

This is an album which definitely works best listened to in one go, without ever using the skip button, and while everyone will find quieter moments within it, the seventy minutes of music comes together to form something quite exceptional.

Bushes is possibly the darkest track on the album, with sudden unexpected industrial samples and moments of feedback, but in no way is it out of place. Passion, with its tropical conch-shell style percussion and a vocal from Michael Franti is excellent too, as it builds into a huge percussive crescendo. Daphne is tucked away a little unfair towards the end where you might forget it, but is great too.

Of the later tracks, All Alone (On Eilean Shona) is my personal favourite. Eilean Shona, the tiny tidal island on a Scottish loch, with its population of two somehow seems an entirely apt place to set this song. The vocals are fantastic, and the rather unexpected African vocal which turns up half way through does nothing to detract from the deep Celtic atmosphere. We are all of the same tribe, no matter what our background.

Racing Away features a welcome lead vocal appearance from the fantastic Horace Andy, and then already we’re onto the final track Ghosts. The vocal this time is performed by Eddi Reader, and finally, softly, gently, the album comes to a close in beautiful fashion, evoking the ghosts that haunt all of us. Sorry, I’m not sure why I suddenly went all philosophical there.

If, like me, you enjoy a bit of “world music” mixed with electronics, you’re going to get a lot out of this album. There’s really very little to criticise on here – every track brings something, even if it just adds to the general atmosphere.

Incidentally, the review above is for the album, because over a decade later I still haven’t got round to buying the video version yet – if I ever do, you will be able to read about it here.

You can find 1 Giant Leap at all major retailers as a CD or DVD. We previously reviewed the second album What About Me? here.