Festival Frolics: Bloc Weekend, Saturday.

Saturday, or day two of this year's Bloc Weekend begins in suitably surreal fashion, checking out of a hotel that has last night put up SBTRKT and put up with Claude von Stroke stumbling in at a distinctly ungodly hour. Needless to say, breakfast is sorely missed. Cut to: slumped in a chalet frantically attempting to piece sanity back together in front of the gory bloodcore that is Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (aired on the perpetually excellent Bloc.TV), a task as absurd as scoring a stuffed Spongebob from one of the umpteen claw crane machines that line Butlins, or taking the entirety out of a penny pusher with a 2p piece. An equally illusory experience is provided by the Splash Waterworld, as the smell of crude chlorine gives your sinuses a thorough once-over but again it's the intoxicating musical substance that's most mind-blowing, threatening to shatter your senses to smithereens.
Tonight, proceedings commence in a forever more pungent Centre:Bloc with the conglomeration of Modeselektor and Apparat, or Moderat, whose whirring ambience is an instant hit that invokes all sorts of internal delirium and sees Sascha Ring strap on a guitar. A GUITAR. And unites musicianship with vocals. Blurring electronic and organic, electro with ambient, synthetics with strings consequently ensures that the trio of electronica titans outweigh the sum of their creative parts convincingly, Rusty Nails sounding befittingly apocalyptic for the disconcerting visuals that form the Germans' backdrop.
Next door in Red:Bloc gloaming is brooding, as King Midas Sound entertain a vast gaggle with their rather idiosyncratic blend of ‘cavernous dub, smack hop, dancehall shoegazing, no wave blues and slo-fi soul’. Barely visible at the epicentre of a thick fog, the peak of Roger Robinson's trademark trilby occasionally protrudes from the haze as hunks of obfuscated sound clatter around guitar raucousness and gruelling murky dub, Kevin Martin menacingly cowering over one of many MacBooks on show throughout the Bloc Weekend. A touch more clarity and King Midas Sound may well have ruled. Another agonising clash rules out Floating Points, yet for the few that stick around for another superlative German, Carsten Nicolai, persistence is greatly rewarded. Under the guise of Alva Noto, Nicolai conjures crisp electro lucidity that is then matchmade with brain-smattering visuals, this evening provided by Niall Henn, and is unrivalled in artistic vision, employing sounds far more pulsating live than on record as if collected on and intricately despatched from a circuitboard palette. An astonishingly beautiful hour.
Next door meanwhile, Four Tet's turning Centre:Bloc into a veritably hellish environ with the most heavenly soundtrack imaginable, lifted primarily from his resplendent record of yesteryear, There Is Love In You. Kieran Hebden looks vaguely demonic behind a blacked out bank of electronics, a shock of fuzz atop deeply set glare obscured by darting spotlights as temperatures become progressively more infernal throughout. Opening up with the ecclesiastical Angel Echoes, even the most ambient moments of his latest LP are toughened, the decibel level of every subtle plink augmented to shuddering extent. The lengthy Love Cry too is quite supernal, its minimal spasming samples getting perspiration rolling down foreheads in a pit rammed to the rafters. Traumatically, the heat is such that vision fades to black, only to return to the sight of a queue stretching halfway to Bristol, quashing any hopes of gambling on Richard D. James roulette in the hope of a rather more accessible, or at least less abhorrent hour than that spawned from his laptop last time he was down in Minehead. Spank Rock-like brashness from DJ Funk is ample equivalent, before Venetian Snares epitomises belligerence with shocks of acerbic noise, rounding off our weekend of excess in impenitently excessive fashion. And so as unabashed techno riotousness continues to spew forth from Jak:Bloc and rays of sunlight eventually drain through a monochrome sky, mind fittingly mutilated, a public transport trudge back to actuality awaits, soundtracked by the satirical ire of John Darnielle as has become twisted Bloc tradition in the disjointed life of Dots & Dashes.