London Electronic Arts Festival is a two-day celebration of electronic music, art, technology and digital futurism…
Stepping things up considerably this year, the choice to move the central hub of LEAF to the Tobacco Dock in Wapping proved to be a great decision. Following a failed attempt in the 90s to turn the The Grade I listed building into a shopping centre, the colossal space has sat largely unused until recent years, now functioning as a multi purpose venue for exhibitions, conferences and music events. During the LEAF Conversations on Friday daytime the well designed layout and interior proved to be the perfect space for panel talks and workshops on the top floor.
From the intriguing Ambient Revival, moderated by Joe Muggs, with Mica Levi aka Micachu, Mr Mitch, Mixmaster Morris, Mira Calix (see what they did there?) and the no-holds barred chinwag with Nile Rogers, through to the informative Point Blank Masterclasses and the well-equipped Native Instruments demo room, there was something for most. However, one issue seemed to be the lack of more specific industry focused talks and debates; LEAF would have benefited from probing into the nitty gritty of the latest issues and developments within the electronic music industry. Reflecting back on a really good day, this felt like the missing link. Following LEAF Conversations, the Great Gallery played host to great concert with Modeselektor, 808 State (performing their Ninety record) and Kate Simko with London Electronic Orchestra.
Our Saturday schedule kicked off at the historic Genesis cinema in Whitechapel. ‘LEAF Presents: Beats On Film’ did exactly that with a selection of pivotal music films and videos screened over the course of the weekend, complimented by panel discussions with experts. Following on from a viewing of Bjork’s stunning Biophillia Live on the Friday, the programme resumed with Video Electro, celebrating the best music videos within electronic music, along with a retrospective look at the work of filmmakers such as Rollo Jackson (Danny Brown, Chase & Status, Squarepusher) and Kate Moross (Simian Mobile Disco, Disclosure). Christopher Turner and Scanner joined Jackson and Moross for the Q&A. Other items at the Genesis included a talk on ‘How Hip-Hop shook up the DJ world’ with a screening of the 1984 classic Beat Street, a chat with Radiophonic Workshop and a chance to see the of The Art of Sounds, The Delian Mode and The Secret World of Foley. Elsewhere on Saturday, Tobacco Dock played host to a huge day party that proved to be a rather buoyant affair the likes of Luciano, Tale Of Us, Sasha, DJ Harvey, Pan-Pot, Anja Schneider, Modeselektor and Stefan Hinz all playing throughout the day. See you next year for sure.
Check out a selection of photographs from the second edition of LEAF below
Photography: Josh Thomas & Vision Seven