Welcome to the last opening heat to find the best electronic music album of 1995. See the series so far here, and see the 16 albums I started off with here. After this post, we'll get to the quarter finals. This was only to meant to last a week: it's been a month since I started, and the whole of civilisation has collapsed in the meantime. By the time we reach the grand final, Earth will be a shrivelled husk drifting aimlessly through the frozen far reaches of space. All is doomed. Let's play some albums!
Here are the final two choices that haven't faced my keen-eared criticism yet:
Remotion by Global CommunicationUh oh. A slightly niche remix project long out of circulation versus a Mercury Prize-nominated behemoth that defined 1990s dance music culture. This truly is a David and Goliath battle. It's King Canute in his deckchair facing the incoming tide. It's that Skywalker bloke against all those horrible people in helmets that had the big metal ball in space, y'know, the one that wasn't a moon. Let the battle commence.
Leftism by Leftfield
Criteria one: which album would make a better biscuit?
The Global Communication album comprises remixes of acts such as Chapterhouse and The Grid, and certainly has the kind of pick-and-mix attitude worthy of the crumbly world of biscuits. However, scratch under the surface, and it's not much more than a coconut-flavoured Nice. The Leftfield album, meanwhile, packs more of a varied flavour palate: it is Ginger Nuts, Oreo and Wagon Wheels combined.
Criteria two: which album has more bangin' choons?
Another win for Leftfield. Quite aside from the barn-storming Release The Pressure, John Lydon's hell-raising rant on Open Up is the definition of "bangin' tune". Seriously. Grab a dictionary from your shelf. Look up the word "bangin'". Is the definition just a photograph of John Lydon trying to sell you butter? Told you so. Now look up the word "moustache". Is there a picture of a buffalo? If so, your dictionary is broken and you should ignore this entire paragraph.
Criteria three: which album's track titles better remind me of cute animals?
The tropical pretensions of Leftism count against Leftfield here: as everyone knows, you don't get cute animals in hot countries (don't google this). And while Remotion isn't overflowing with furry creatures, it does have Wild Horse, and a track called Le Soleil Et La Mer which I'm pretty sure is french for A Sealion And A Mouse. Again, don't google this. Also "Global Communication" is an anagram of "clinical, numb moo-goat", so there's that.
Winner: Global Communication
Criteria four: which of the two would Jesus listen to?
I've just received this letter, postmarked 'heaven'. Let me just read it. "Dear Fat Roland," it says, "Jesus here. I object most strongly to your inclusion of Leftism in this blog series. I tried listening to this with my disciples and it was mostly enjoyable. It's got a good beat. However, the moment when that John Lydon fellow says 'bigger than God' was most offensive. Smite you. Yours sincerely, Jesus Christ." Oh dear. It looks like Remotion wins by default – but that's okay: it's an angelic-sounding album.
Winner: Global Communication
Criteria five: which is the better album to sing songs about eggs to?
Global Communication had some good egg-singing opportunities. In Delta Phase, I found myself singing the phrase "lovely eggs, I just want some lovely eggs," while on Epsilon Phase, it was possible to repeatedly sing the line "Have to add some cheese, reaching to the knife, chopping all the thyy-yyme." However, there was much more on the Leftfield album, with eggy lyrics including "I've got to stand and fry" and "You're original, with your own pan" and "You fried, you baked, you beated, you made some eggs" and "ovum up, make room for cheese". Sp-egg-tactular.
Criteria six: which album has the better cover design?
The 'jawbone lens' design on the Leftfield album cover is beautifully done, and I remember buying my gatefold vinyl edition with pride. In a nice coincidence for this randomly-curated contest, Leftfield's cover designer Jonathan Cooke also did the artwork for the US release of a Chapterhouse remix album by Global Communication, which incidentally featured two tracks from Remotion. Unfortunately, the cover artwork of Remotion itself is a bit, er, Word Art. Leftfield wins this one.
Criteria seven: miscellaneous and worryingly random
This final set of criteria is guided by the wisdom of Wikipedia's random page button. Here goes. Which album is more Italian? Leftfield is a bit Afro, and Remotion has French track titles – the latter wins for being slightly closer to Italy. Which album smells fishy? Leftfield because of its Space Shanty. Which album is worse for your eyesight? The Leftfield album features a camera lens, so it must be Global Communication. Which album should be home to migratory birds? Global Communication because they can perch on the Wild Horse. Which album would be better at digging wells in south western India? Oh CHEERS for that, Wikipedia. Global is a deeper listen so, er, them.
Winner: Global Communication
Overall winner and going through to the quarter-finals: Taking the final place in the quarter-finals is Leftfield's Leftism. Goliath won over David, but it was a close call. Good job, really: I don't want to get beaten up by John Lydon.
The next phase of this neverending battle will be the quarter-finals, which will feature (SPOILER if you haven't read all the blog posts so far): Freefloater by Higher Intelligence Agency versus Timeless by Goldie; Maxinquaye by Tricky versus Everything Is Wrong by Moby; Post by Bjork versus ...I Care Because You Do by Aphex Twin; Landcruising by Carl Craig versus Leftism by Leftfield. It's going to be brutal. See all the original riders and runners here.
Further Fats: See the whole Best Albums Of 1995 series here.