1 GIANT LEAP (Palm/EMI) Rating: N Rating: N
It's incredible that in this age of intelligent fusion and truly international music, the concept of a bunch of pop-star tourists jamming with "world music" musicians can still be big news. 1 Giant Leap puts Robbie Williams, Michael Stipe, Speech and Michael Franti in the studio with musicians from South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, Thailand, India and Uganda for a kind of feel-good, hands-across-the-water project that could only be thought up in a boardroom. There is no sense of communication between the participants. Instead, the organizers paste the songs together over soothing New Age beats and exotic background noise, creating context with talk about primal rhythms and poor musicians who welcomed the Westerners into their homes. As sterile, soulless and contrived as it sounds.