Slam have long been the soundtrack to Scotland’s best nights out, but with the release of their second album, Alien Radio, this month, they’re destined to be the soundtrack to some of your best nights in. Words: Jack Mottram
tuart MacMillan and ()rde Miekle‘s place in the history of (ilasgow‘s dance music is already a given. whether it‘s their first tentative steps promoting some of the city‘s first raves. their nurturing of the scene through the still- independent Sonia imprint. or their uncanny knack of filling dance floors with an unswervingly loyal fraternity of fans. Now. with the release of Alien Radio. Slam have added another string to their bow. taking their production skills to new levels. and crafting a neatly polished album. Not that the duo haven‘t had their moments on vinyl in the past — debut long player [Ivar/status" has weathered well. and signature
Slam get spruced up for the launch of their new album
'n‘ roll hand would. writing the tunes. doing demos. then going into a bigger sttidio and re— recording them in one go. Believe it or not. we worked solidly for 40 days and 4i) nighle 'l'ltai‘s definitely the way we want to work in the future. because it allows tracks to develop within the framework of the album and that gives a homogenous feel to the sound.‘
'l‘hat homogeneity is certainly in evidence. and Slam are still soaking tip influences from Detroit and (‘hicago. but die—hard Pressure and l’reelance Science fanatics may well find the down-tempo. organic feel of much of the album a surprise. This move into more inttsical territory was. unlike the new-look recording process. no accident.
‘I get sent these things that I‘m told are albums.~ Meikle says. ‘but they are more like double-packs.
It sometimes seems that everyone is looking over
their shoulders at what other producers are doing and following suit. and I think the last thing techno needs at the moment is another instrumental album aimed straight at the dancefloor. It was important for us to push at our own boundaries and also at the boundaries of the music we‘re influenced by and would like to make. A lot of stuff coming out these days is quite minimal. and doesn‘t have more than a few ideas running through it. which is fine for a couple of hundred l).ls to buy to mix with. for Us Using vocalists. tising live
track ‘Positive liducation‘ has ‘BelleVe it Or not we worked musicians. having it more as a
earned classic status —- but SOlidly for 40 days and 40
trip. or a journey speeding tip
Alien RUde manages to swing nights] Orde as it goes along was
from beatless abstractions to singalong vocal cuts without ever losing the trademark dirty funk. which has kept (iltts‘gow clubbers braving lengthy queues month in month out for decades.
For ()rde Miekle. this change of direction is
down to a major shift in working methods. ‘()ur
offices burnt down about a year and a half ago.~ he says. 'We‘d planned to start work in January on the album but. with the building being condemned. we couldn't get to any of the equipment. so we had to relocate to my bedroom working on far less equipment. It meant that we almost demo-ed this album. unlike the first one where we wrote it as we went along. We worked more in the way that a rock
76 THE LIST 7—3: it... 309..
something we had to do. It was a bit nerve-wracking at the time. but we're happy with the end result. and we‘ll definitely take influences from this album and run with them in our music in future..
.‘l/icn Rat/in. then. sees Slam go further than they have before in defining their sound. honing the dark but soulful. bass-heavy sound (ilasgow has grown tip with. but instead of sticking fast to a techno template. Macmillan and .\liekle have infected new genres and risen to the challenge of producing an album that stands up to home listening as much as it drives the dancefloor.
See Records for the review of Alien Radio.
The latest C/ub news . . .
THE DEPARTURE OF the Sub Club from its temporary home at Planet Peach shouldn't be causing the regulars too much pain. as the Sub gang are arranging a series of one-off parties over the summer months. The first of these is on Friday 8 June. with a boat trip on Loch Lomond featuring Kinky Afro and a Subculture party at the Riverside Club (see club Hsﬁngsi
dirk ~i- M ;~\’ Tl.
TOM Y BOY RECORDS is celebrating its 20th anniversary by touring the UK and Europe with a posse of hip hop heroes. Afrika Bambaataa, Arthur Baker, Maseo (De La Soul) and Dan The Automator will all be appearing at the sole Scottish date to take place on Saturday 14 July at OMU, Glasgow.
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IF YOU FANCY a pair of free VIP tickets for this year’s Scottish Cyber Ball to be held at Studio 24 on Friday 22 June, simply answer the following question: ‘What is the full name on performance artist Empress Stah’s passport?’ Send your responses to clubs@|ist.co.uk, including all your contact details, by Wednesday 20 June.