About Leafcutter


Leafcutter John is a London based Songwriter, Electronic musician, and Artist. 2010 is my 10th year making music and releasing records.






'The Forest and the Sea' press shot by Vicki Churchill

'The Forest and the Sea' press shot by Vicki Churchill


The bulk of my performances are of material from my recorded works. I have released 4 albums which all combine elements of folk song with electronic passages. I’m currently performing “The Forest and the Sea” with a three piece band. The album tells the story of two people who become lost in a forest. This is presented using a combination of layered vocals, guitar, cello, and electronics. This project has toured extensivly in the UK and Europe as well as a month long Australian outing.

I also occasionally perform solo sets which are generally improvised and incorporate un-usual sound sources with song in some way. 

Credit: patricia kiezebrink

Giant musical Slinky in Amsterdam. Photo: patricia kiezebrink


I still love the traditional Album format and put a great deal of time and love into creating meaningful narratives in my recorded output.

Full Discography (45 releases) CLICK HERE

  • The Forest And The Sea (2006) Staubgold Records (Staubgold 68) CD/LP
  • The Housebound Spirit (2003) Planet Mu (ZIQ061) CD
  • Microcontact (2001) Planet Mu (ZIQ022) CD
  • Concourse EEP (2000) Planet Mu (ZIQ017) 12? and CD

I am currently working on my 5th full length recording for Young God Records.

Press Quotes for ‘The Forest And The Sea’

“It’s his haunting voice that has the most magnificent impact, on the likes of ‘Dream III’ and beautiful harmonised closer ‘Now’ – Tim Chester

BBC Collective
“Whereas other artists operating under the folktronica guise often tip too far towards acoustic traditionalism, the Leafcutter matches his bard-like couplets with perfectly married sample matter, stretching his captured sounds into gently distorted shapes.” – Martin Longley

Time Out London
“Alongside Aphex Twin and Bogdan Raczynski – he’s one of the UK’s most fearlessly inventive electronicists and a member of fêted avant jazzers Polar Bear. His fourth solo LP is a striking hybrid of pastoral songcraft, glitch, field recordings and traditional Greek instrumentation that goes far beyond ‘folktronica’, running the gamut of moods from sweetly mournful to darkly malevolent.” – 5 Stars. – Sharon O’Connell, Mon Jun 19 

Plan B
“One rarely finds a record with so much brave beauty as Leafcutter John’s album. Brave for its transgression, both musically and historically.”…..”This record is all the best cadences of folk combined with all the best parts of sampling and processing – togther they render a whole new form.” – Ralph Cowling

The Wire
“If there is such a genre [folktronica], he is the best possible exponent” – David Stubbs

“Leafcutter John’s great success on ‘The Forest And The Sea’ is to blend traditional sounds and vocals that cry forth from the ordinary folk long past, with mastery of technology and laptop proficiency. And it’s a journey, too, not just an escape from the urban jungle, but a progress of learning, adventure, and discovery.” – Luke Turner

The Stool Pigeon 
“Whoah, this is absolutely great” …. “It’s like Leonard Cohen is having a cup of tea with Warp Records in a truck stop outside of Denver.”


Animated Graphic Scores


extract from from score 1

extract from from score 1

I am currently working on a series of animated graphic scores. In performance the scores are projected for audience and players. I have been commissioned to write a new score for the Fuse festival 09 in Leeds. Watch a Video of Kammer Klang Quartet playing score #1.

“An animated score designed by the enigmatic Leafcutter John, projected onto a blank canvas, provided the structural platform for in-performance composition by the Kammer Klang quartet. Four lines colour coded to each musician respectively, warped over time in size, shape and position, which the musicians interpreted by variations in volume, pitch, attack and decay. The absence of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic structure entailed that the music emanated directly from each musician’s emotional centre. Despite the freedom afforded by this method of musical expression there was an evident coherence to the group’s performance.” Joseph Kassman-Tod, Jazzwise Magazine 10.02.09


Polar Bear should be used to the cold

Polar Bear should be used to the cold

 I’m part of Polar Bear a band which is very special to me. I contribute sound via my laptop and electric guitar. Together we create a sound which wikipedia describes as ‘experimental post-jazz’ Personally I’m not sure exactly how to describe us but if you think of an actual Polar Bear’s poise and beauty while remembering that he has the capacity to rip your head off, you won’t go far wrong.


Nails in Peckham photo Guy Archard

Nails in Peckham photo Guy Archard


Nails is a duo project with Polar Bear leader Seb Rochford. We combine processed electric guitar, electronics, percussion, vocals and synthesizer. Our music is improvised and changes according to our enviroment. We have played within Europe including Punkt festival in Norway. 

“While controversy was not a major part of the festival, Leafcutter John and Seb Rochford were the great dividers of opinion this year. Their full-on sonic assault had more in common with rock performances in many ways, reminiscent of the Live at Pompeii version of Saucerful of Secrets by Pink Floyd one moment, then moving into a folk troubadour mode similar to a more vernacular and less bombastic Jim Moray…

Future festivals would do well to have more of this kind of diversity or face being colonized by instigators of Shibboleths and thus be de-energized as an innovative force. While, aesthetically speaking, Leafcutter John and Seb Rochford’s set might not have been the most obvious choice for Punkt, it was possibly the most important one this year.” jazzlandrec.com on Punkt Festival 2008

Listen to NAILS now!

Interactive Art Installation

installing the sonic floor

installing the sonic floor


I was commissioned by Beaconsfield  to create an installation in their large second floor room. The work turned the floor into an interactive instrument played by visitors moving about on its surface. Full Details

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