Slam Alien Radio

This is one of the best techno albums of the year. Slam - Glasgow's Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle - aren't the most prolific producers, but they are among the best, and everything they release is well worth the wait. This album, their second, is no exception. Every track wears the influence of early Detroit techno and Chicago house, yet it is much more soulful, with healthy infusions of melody and emotion. Few producers have managed to fuse these two sounds so well and create such a smooth final product. Among the many fine tracks are the amazing single "Lifetimes," which features Tyrone Palmer on vocals, swooping strings and a wonderful stepping bass line, "Eyes of Your Soul," which Palmer also sings on, and singer Dot Allison is featured on "Visions." The remaining tracks are without vocals, and range from the excellent electro-breaks of "Alien Radio" to their new reworking of their 1996 classic "Positive Education," and the straight Detroit-style "Virtuoso." Not a single bad track and plenty of great ones make this an album to remember. (Soma)