Aphex Twin takes BLOC on a journey of electronic possibilities

BLOC Weekend 2011 review

published: Wed 16th Mar 2011

Aphex Twin

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th March 2011
Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, England MAP
from £140 per person - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Mon 28th Feb 2011

Ok so now I was ready to party hard. Saturday at a festival is always the biggest night for me, its all about pacing oneself. A quick bit of breakfast (at 4pm) and then off to cruise through each venue to check out what was happening. A bit of Moderat first thing maybe or perhaps check out Daedelus.

King Midas Sound
Things felt in full flow now and I was ready for anything, anything - er no not anything, in fact I was what I witnessed made me suspect that my cornflakes had been spiked with some horrible evil drug causing me to hear and see terrible things. I had unwittingly stumbled up King Midas Sound. I can only describe them as aural horror, and I really don't mean that in a complimentary way, I mean these guys really lack talent. Can you remember the Mighty Boosh episode Electro where terrible 80's electro acts are parodied? This was a dub equivalent featuring terrible bontempi style percussion tracks, harsh sounds mixed with useless dub bass and pretentious pseudo intellectual seriousness. It was hard not to laugh at how ridiculous they looked and sounded, and although the assault on my ears was dire enough to be prison-able in many countries there must have been over a hundred other people in the audience which suggested that there is a market for King Midas Sound's 'art'.

Forgetting this terrible experience I had much to look forward to including the must see man of the festival, Richard D James, aka Aphex Twin. The queue to get into the venue began an hour before James was due to take stage and was possibly five hundred people long but it it isn't everyday the legend makes an appearance, so the vast majority of people patiently waited to see the godfather of experimental electronic music. With a packed auditorium keenly expectant Aphex Twin began late but wasted no time getting involved with weird sounds.

Aphex Twin
His sets are a journey into the electronic possibilities from the sublime and transcendent to the dirty and evil. James could have been at home, streaming live as he rarely appears to notice to audience or just faking it, listening to something entirely different on his headphones to audio assault he unleashes on his fans. Tonight's playlist subtly played homage to his past whilst proving that his new material (I believe it was all new, but with such a vast catalogue I couldn't say for sure) is still as relevant and brilliant as his early works. Just as I began to wonder what James would think of the dubstep revolution of recent years he cut into a bass driven tune equal to any piece of dubstep I have so far experienced. Everyone around me went nuts as the low frequencies ground their way through the speakers and vibrated the room. He must have known it would be a crowd pleaser but he didn't milk it, he perhaps just wanted to prove that he could compete with any style around. Instead he moved on and began to bombard the senses with faster rhythms and crazier melodies drawing on his industrial and jungle influences working his way to an apocalyptic climax. Aphex Twin's show was a great moment in music and many of the lucky people who witnessed it would surely have been moved by this experience, it isn't hard to understand why he's considered a genius.

As experienced as DJ Vitalic is he may well have felt the pressure of performing after Aphex Twin, especially at 3.30am, but he didn't appear uncomfortable in the slightest. With slightly diminished numbers listening he set about doing his thing in finest manner. Aphex Twin's set was never going to be the most fun set to dance to so Vitalic gave those wishing to dance just what they wanted. His techno has inspired many a clubber for years and he is still in demand as a DJ worldwide. With no sign of tired legs hundreds of feet danced happily into the early hours of the morning as Vitalic played classic tunes including La Rock which has, in particular gained a small place in my heart. By 5am my need for sleep outweighed my desire to see Speedy J and so I left knowing that there was still another day of great music ahead of me.
review by: Richard Potter

photos by: Matt Pufahl

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th March 2011
Butlins Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, England MAP
from £140 per person - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Mon 28th Feb 2011


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