Above: That time again folks, when an army of invading dance music fans take over Butlin’s in Minehead and go for it three days straight. I hope your name’s not down for any chalet deposits?
We’ve been saving up our not giving into FOMO points for a fair few weeks now and are getting damn excited about the impending last ever Bloc Weekend at the Butlin’s Minehead resort.
Here’s some tips from some of the rabble crew that are making the pilgrimage across the pond to get their ears opened to shit, old and new. Nothing in this list is comprehensive so shout out bits you think we ought to suss.
We hope to see at least some of you stripped to the waist waving a tri-colour with badly a drawn blue ghost spray painted on it for Lakker, Kenny Hanlon, Defekt, TR One, Autoamtic Tasty and Sunil Sharp across the weekend too.
1. DJ Deeon
DJ Deeon is back in the UK for the first time in twenty two years this week, with a Dance Mania label party before a closing slot at the last Bloc weekender. Deeon is one of the better known figures from the pioneering Chicago label and he’s still popular today, his track 2 B Free sampled by Bjarki was one of the hits of 2015. Have a listen, but make sure your headphones are in. A recent 2016 rerub of his Freak Like Me vocal gem is blowing up on house tastemaker Defected as we speak.
2. DJ Skirt
DJ Skirt has well made her mark on the Birmingham techno scene by now, having moved over from the States more than a decade ago. Skirt had a stint working at Regis’ Integrale Muzique distribution company before picking up DJing again, and also has some quality releases to her name. Well worth a look early on the Friday.
3. Jane Fitz
London DJ and party-thrower Jane Fitz is much less head downwards, and far more chill, minimal techno and house. Have a listen to her brilliant RA podcast or the free rotation mix above.
4. Hipsters Don’t Dance
Okay, let’s park all discussion about the name at the door for this one. Hipsters Don’t Dance are a London duo of Kazabon and Hootie Who, their diasporic heritage seeded an interest in world party vibes.
For someone stuck in the relatively sterile mono-culture of Dublin, their blog functions as a super good catalog of bashment anthems and carnival street sounds from across the globe. We’ll be leaving our Bloc po-face at the door for this one and grabbing a whistle. Run it again selectah.
We tend to keep an ear firmly cocked to anything related to this Glasglow based pairing of JD Twitch and Jonnie Wilkes. They’re an iconic duo that started a boundary bashing night at the Sub Club in 1997 and kept it going for well over a decade.
Their Optimo Trax imprint unleashes club focused fire, while as individuals they run intensely interesting side projects ranging from Autonomous Africa to the digi-dancehall inspired Bucky Skank. Constantly with their shoulder pushed to the wheel keeping Glasglow local talent ticking.
Most recently the Optimo label released an album of post-punk rarities called [Cease & Desist], assisted the Youth Stand Up project and put out a new compilation of synth and industrial bits called So Low.
Take notes folks.
Bristol’s sound system heritage tends to lead producers there to a keen awareness of space and bass. No surprise so that we’re fans of the technoid grit and pressure of the man like Kowton. One part of the Livity Sound crew, his releases are immediately bagged.
We were lucky enough to catch him shelling the Panorama Bar last summer with his own bits alongside weaponary like DJ Koze’s lethal tribute to dub poet Micheal Smith. Expect peaked out and trippy noises, alongside caustic abrasion and solid skanking. He’s got a new album due, so this should be good.
Ready for the rewind? An interesting one this, as Bloc host a showcase on the Saturday featuring a stand off between prestigious German techno label R and S and Boxed. More Bristol action here with its inevitable absorption of Jamaican influences. Kahn will be expected to bring out those big grimey guns and steppers dread.
Sound boy slewing Percy was the one that broke him wide open, leading Kahn and partner Neek to set up Bandulu records back in 2012. Been a while since we had a blast of daycent dubstep to be honest, so this will be a treat.