Room 2 is the first to come to life, and two hours of minimal techno from Pupfish & Waxmouse gets bodies moving early. Meanwhile, after a bruising set up from Svengali’s low-punching dubstep, Room 1 takes off with Point B. His woozy, sunlit UK garage is like locking on to a late 90s pirate station on a radio with dodgy batteries.
Next – and packing enough machinery for a pre-laptop Kraftwerk - Neil Landstrumm blends austere warehouse techno, starry-eyed 8-bit melody, and bumpy dancehall bass. Landstrumm has been around since the mid-nineties, but he’s making his best music right now. Despite serious competition, he proves impossible to beat.
At 2am, Boxcutter’s addictive bass medicine goes up against the attack dog breakcore of Kid 606. It’s a clash on paper, but in terms of depth there’s no contest - I’ll take Boxcutter’s heady light and shade over one-paced aggression any day of the week. Meanwhile, local legend Parasite brings ragga-jungle delirium to Room 3.
The headline slot goes to crowd-pleasing Bogdan Raczynski, whose hard-jacking 4/4s and rampaging breaks are upholstered with tonight’s plushest synths. Raczynski strikes a rare balance – his music is bloody clever, but it has a hard-headed logic that’s hard for a raver to resist.
Tokyo assassin Goth Trad does punishing and meditative in equal measures, and tonight he proves he’s among the dubstep greats, but it's Panacea that finally reduces Lakota to rubble. The gold-toothed Berliner's vengeful scum & bass may have "outsider status" written all over it, but it's the perfect rinse-out for a night like this.
Three rooms, as many continents, and 57 varieties of sickness. Bristol electronica lineup of the year?
A shorter version of this review appeared in Venue magazine.