Recon Festival 2015

This October sees Recon Festival return for another series of intriguing and inspiring musical and artistic performances across Leeds and Bradford. The diverse line-up features performances from Warp Records electronica pioneers Plaid and Clark, Leeds locals Hookworms and many more.

For 2015, Recon will explore how people interact and relate to technology, focussing on artists who work playfully, creatively and sometimes naughtily with electronics in their music. Co-organiser Andrew Abbott said:

“Myself and fellow co-organisers Tom Hammond and James Islip all cut our teeth in the DIY underground music and arts scene in Leeds. We had some amazing and perception-changing experiences getting to see bands play in tiny cellars underneath dodgy pubs. We find that this more visceral and fun side of ‘experimental’ or ‘contemporary’ music is often lacking in sonic arts festivals, and so the impetus behind Recon stemmed from us wanting to mix things up a little.”

Recon Festival has now been running for three years. Andrew’s view is that West Yorkshire is teeming with talent and opportunities.

“We try to commission collaborations or unique performances that allow artists to do new things. But we’re lucky in Leeds and Bradford to have so many quality performers and exciting spaces on offer that add an extra level to the musical experience.”

The first event of Recon festival was an excellent sold-out performance by experimental noisepop group Xiu Xiu, which saw them play the music of Twin Peaks at the Howard Assembly Room. But there are still many more events to come. Here’s a roundup of what we can expect to find:

10th October

Head to Leeds DIY venue Wharf Chambers for the krautophonic blizzard-wave of Warm Digits, have a listen to them here. Support comes from motorik and propulsive dual-drummered quartet Nope, and Leeds surf-freaks Los Pecadores.

15th October

The Brudenell Social Club plays host to the next show, with Plaid, a much-anticipated Leeds performance for a group that has had a deep influence on the development of electronic music. They’ll be supported by Leeds’ very own Galaxians, for fans of 1980s New York boogie everywhere. Also on the bill will be Golden Meat, featuring analogue audio and visual noise electronics by James Islip from That Fucking Tank.

16th October

The 16th October’s event will be at Belgrave Music Hall with another Warp Records artist, Clark. His latest album Flame Rave gives a nod to 90s-style jungle jams. Mumdance, Helm and Wanda Group make up the rest of the line up.

17th October

New Leeds venue Headrow House hosts Leeds locals turned international rockstars Hookworms, who will be headlining their first of two Recon performances with a special collaboration with renowned producer Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Darkstar, Ghostpoet). Expect modular synths, new material and soundscapes. Also on the bill will be Container, Karen Gwyer, Neil Cambell (Vibracathedral Orchestra), XAM, Game_Program and Moon Gangs. The event runs from 4pm to 1am.

18th October

The final event of Recon will be at Bradford Playhouse. The venue will play host to Out-There: Sounds For All The Family – a special day of family-friendly, unique performances. Kicking off the event will be a special matinee show from Leeds psych-rock quintet Hookworms, as they host a special show and music workshop for kids. Children will be invited up onto the stage to manipulate effects and play live with synthesizers as the band play. Also on the bill will be The Space Lady, aka Susan Dietrich, a US musician renowned internationally for her otherworldly covers and original pieces for effected Casio keyboard and voice. She has received critical acclaim from VICE Magazine, BBC 6 Music and will be coming to Bradford as part of her 2015 world tour. Joining her will be Japanese artist ICHI, a musician and inventor who magically integrates steel drums, ping-pong balls, tape loops and theatrics into gripping and hilarious live performances.

The eclectic line-up will also feature:

The Incredible Niblo – a combination of underpant escapology and “orange peel transformations” – or, as he describes it: “an animal safari created from a bag of satsumas – a geographical tour of the world with the aid of some chapattis”.

Eric Boros – a French self-taught guitarist, experimental multi-instrumentalist, improviser and composer, bringing improvised acoustic shredding on a baritone guitar to Bradford.

Tomaga – a London duo making minimal psychedelia using drums, synths and a water cooler – recently supported post-punk legends Wire on their tour earlier this year.

Survival Skills – Chris Sharkey of Acoustic Ladyland, Trio VD, Shiver and many more creates immersive ambience with processed guitar and electronics.

Mia La Metta – Kathy Grey from Leeds bands Beards and Ygrec creates wonky-pop using guitar and synth.

Recon co-organiser Andrew Abbott is excited about the possibilities for this year’s festival:

“We’ve tried to book artists who push the boundaries of how we relate to technology – often revealing a humanistic and soulful side, whether they’re collaborating with innovators or repurposing tools for things they were never intended. I think with the line-up this year we’ll experience a diverse range of approaches from musicians, artists and filmmakers doing just that.”

Recon Festival will be held in various venues across Leeds and Bradford during October. Find out more at or follow them on Twitter @ReconFestival.

Originally published by Leeds Living.

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