A trying year for Slam’s Stuart McMillan has had an unexpected benefit. One of his methods for dealing with hard times has been to immerse himself in more ambient techno music making with Orde Meikle, and between them Slam have come up with a full-length experimental album that takes in dub, beatless soundscapes and dark, brooding textures. Designed to be listened to in one measure, ‘Anthenæum 101’ sets out its stall with wide open textures and soft but darkly focussed noises, one of which is a distant throb that over time becomes a rhythm track. From here the music is still easy on the ear but it moves subtly from the broad brush strokes into more mechanical loops, which in turn inspire dark, dubby music. This is relatively alien territory for Slam but one where they are immediately at home, setting out a dark urban landscape that, while not offering a great deal of light, is comforting all the same. This tension runs the whole way through and makes ‘Anthenæum 101’ a very satisfying whole, whether the listener is close up to the detail or lost in their own thoughts.
 
Ben Hogwood
5 out of 5

 

Slam – Athenæum 101 (Continuous Mix)