Ok, I ended up finding the solution so I'll throw this one out there in case anyone ever has the same problem and looks for it on google.
I ended up rebuilding my kernel removing support for alsa, and using oss instead. Since then I have had no problems at all to do with sound, and my machine is running flawlessly. I imagine this is a fault to do with my ancient sound card (neomagic 256zx) and not anything actually to do with alsa itself. Since Slackware is designed to use alsa, I had to throw together a quick 'rc.oss' script to replace 'rc.alsa' and load the sound modules on startup. You can add an entry calling your script in rc.M to have it run on startup.
Last edited by canllaith; 09-23-2004 at 08:26 AM.