John Burton is the recording artist known as Leafcutter John. Also an educator, one-man-software-house, installation artist, and luthier. Over the last 10 years he has released 4 albums on the influential IDM label Planet-Mu records and German art label Staubgold Records. In 2007 he completed his first solo art show, an interactive sound installation at Beaconsfield in London. He is also a member of the Mercury Prize nominated group Polar Bear.
John’s debut release, the « Concourse eep » (ZIQ017) came almost fully formed from the first demo that John sent me. It is refreshing to get music which is so obviously created out of a love of sound and musical structure rather than people second guessing what you want to hear which is what normally happens. John’s music is a thing of rare beauty & subtlety, closely related to the electroacoustic compositioms of Pierre Henry & Bernard Parmegiani as well as contemporary acousmatic music.
Since his first release on Planet Mu records in 2000, London-based Leafcutter John (aka John Burton) has developed a strong musical identity using processed instrumental and environmental recordings. His third album The Housebound Spirit (Planet Mu, 2003) won an Honorary Mention at the 2004 Ars Electronica Awards and was featured in The Wire Magazine’s top 50 records of 2003.
Recently John’s music has taken a more lyrical direction as can be seen on his latest record ‘The Forest And The Sea’ on the Berlin label Staubgold Records (July 2006).
He writes his own music software much of which is available for free from his website. He has given talks and exhibited software across Europe (including the ICA) and is also a regular guest speaker at the London College of Communication. He also taught for a year at DIEM (Danish Institute of Electronic Music) in Aarhus, Denmark during 2005.
John has also been involved in the Contemporary Art scene, with his latest project at the Serpentine Gallery where he was invited by artist Tomoko Takahashi (short-listed for the 2000 Turner prize) and the Serpentine to produce a live show based on Tomoko’s solo exhibition. ‘My Play-station’ was performed in the entire gallery where he turned the installation into a sound source involving 3 live sound collectors and the audience.
Leafcutter John has played live at Festivals and one-off events throughout Europe, emphasising his interest in audience interaction. He has shared bills with Matmos, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Yo La Tengo, Otomo Yoshihide, Aki Onda, Phillip Jeck, Janek Schaefer, Tujiko Noriko and many more.