Req: Frequency Jams (Skint)

Like Goldie, Req has swapped life as a graffiti artist for music, serving up an esoteric brew of hip-hop and electronic noise. Not that he's abandoned his art-school rebel streak - things like "tunes" rarely get in the way of cut-and-paste experimentalism. Req's warped playfulness makes this an intriguing find, but this is one for the avant-garde palate, for sure. HH

Shri & Badmarsh: Dancing Drums (Outcaste)

This Bombay-meets-Brixton soundclash is the work of Shri - a formally- trained tabla player, and Badmarsh - a jungle pirate DJ. At best, it represents funky radicalism, and mixes club-culture hedonism with a sub-continental bent, but at times it is a clinical affair. Still, music with an Afro-Euro-Asian parentage seems to be the most dynamic part of global techno, and this is up there with some of the smartest releases. HHH

Warm Jets: Future Signs (Island, below)

The title of the album is a bit of a giveaway. Like "Spiders From Mars"- era Bowie, The Warm Jets are star-gazing, techno-babbling, futurism obsessives, despite being hemmed in by a rather conservative pop focus. "Never Never" has delivered that all important hit single after its re-release, but goggle-eyed frontman Louis will have to learn to sing. HHH

Nick Heyward: The Apple Bed (Creation)

Nick gets in with the post-Oasis crowd with his Creation album debut, which is a slab of rock that doesn't often show his strengths. What point is there in revving up the guitars when Heyward's voice is cotton soft and vulnerable? Maybe he was too close to the project, producing it himself, but one thing is sure, he hasn't learnt the crucial lesson that other Eighties survivors, like Julian Cope and Edwyn Collins, have: Be Yourself. HH