An Electronic Dance Music band formed out of London, UK in 1989, and were mostly active until 2002.
Leftfield were a duo of artists and record producers consisting of Neil Barnes and Paul Daley.
In January 2010, Barnes resurrected the band name and Daley has declined to be involved. They are undoubtable pioneers within the field of, what became known as, IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) and Progressive Trance/House, and were among the first to blend House, with Dub and Reggae.
Along with a number of their contemporaries, for example The Chemical Brothers and Underworld, Leftfield pioneered the use of guest vocalists throughout their career. Among the more prominent were Toni Halliday (of Curve), who provided the voice on “Original”, Djum Djum on “Afro-Left” and Earl 16 and Cheshire Cat on “Release the Pressure”.
Barnes & Daley
Neil Barnes’ introduction into the world of music world, was as a DJ at The Wag Club while simultaneously playing percussion instruments. Around 1989, inspired by Afrika Bambaataa, Barnes decided to try his hand as a producer for Electronic Dance Music. In 1990, he released the single “Not Forgotten” on the Rhythm King label. It was followed by “More Than I Know” in 1991.
For the remixes of these tracks, Barnes called upon Paul Daley, then a hairdresser, but also in "A Man Called Adam" and a one time session musician for The Brand New Heavies and Primal Scream, appearing on their Dixie Narco EP.
Barnes and Daley had previously worked together as percussionists at The Sandals’ first club, Violets. As their mutual interest in Electronic Dance Music became clear, the pair decided that they would work instead upon Leftfield, once Barnes had extricated himself from his now troublesome contract with Rhythm King.
Recordings & Albums
1st Major Album
Their first major break came in '93, this was with the single “Open Up”, a collaboration with John Lydon, following that, was their debut album, "Leftism" in '95.
- “Release the Pressure” (featuring Earl 16 and Chesire Cat)
- “Song of Life”
- “Open Up” (featuring John Lydon)
- “Original” (featuring Toni Halliday of Curve)
- “Afro-Left” (featuring Djum Djum).
The album was re-released in 2000 with a bonus disc of remixes.
Album No 2
Their second and final studio album as a duo, Rhythm and Stealth, was released in '99. This album maintained a similar style, and featured Roots Manuva, Afrika Bambaataa, and MC Cheshire Cat from Birmingham.
Rhythm and Stealth was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize in 2000 but lost out to Badly Drawn Boy’s The Hour of Bewilderbeast. Three singles were issued;-
- “Afrika Shox”
The song “Phat Planet” featured on Guinness’ 1999 advert, Surfer.
Released on the 29th of May 2000, originally on Leftfield's official website. It was the follow-up to 1999's Rhythm and Stealth and essentially contained remixes of songs from that album.
The album was released on CD and double-12".
Later, it was released as a double album along with Rhythm and Stealth.
A Final Hit
Leftfield split in 2002, then in 2005, they issued their greatest hits compilation "A Final Hit".
This album features all of their singles, songs which were released on film soundtracks and some others.
1. "Release The Pressure" (Feat. Earl Sixteen)
2. "Afro Left" (Feat. Djum Djum)
3. "Song of Life"
4. "Original" (Feat. Toni Halliday of Curve)
5. "Storm 3000"
6. "Open Up" (Feat. John Lydon)
7. "Dusted" (Feat. Roots Manuva)
8. "Phat Planet" (Feat. Cheshire Cat)
9. "Afrika Shox" (Feat. Afrika Bambaataa)
10. "Not Forgotten" (Hard Hands Remix)
11. "A Final Hit" (From the Trainspotting soundtrack)
12. "Swords" (Feat. Nicole Willis)
13. "Shallow Grave" (From the Shallow Grave soundtrack)
14. "Snakeblood" (From The Beach soundtrack)
15. "More Than I Know"
There was also a Limited Edition release including a bonus DVD with music videos to seven of the singles released by Leftfield.
1. "Open Up" (Feat. John Lydon)
2."Original" (Feat. Toni Halliday of Curve)
3. "Afro Left" (Feat. Djum Djum)
4. "Release The Pressure" (Feat. Earl Sixteen & Cheshire Cat with Ad-libs from Papa Dee)
5. "Afrika Shox" (Feat. Afrika Bambaataa)
6. "Dusted" (Feat. Roots Manuva)
Tourism Live Album
A live album released in March 2012 including an accompanying DVD featuring visuals from their latest tour, which were made by the visual artist collective Ne1co.
The album was recorded between 5th - 18th March 2011 at The Future Music Festival across Australia and at The Enmore Theatre, Sydney and The Palace, Melbourne.
Alternative Light Source
The third studio album by Leftfield, released on 8 June 2015. It is the first new material following the band's 1999 album Rhythm and Stealth album.
On 1 June 2015, the album premiere was streamed live on Twitter, coupled with conversation via hashtag #leftfieldstream.
In 2010, Leftfield reunited and played a string of shows. However, Leftfield is now represented by Barnes alone with a backing band and singers, as Daley is concentrating on his DJ work, as well as releasing a solo album.
Leftism was shortlisted for the 1995 Mercury Music Prize but lost out to Portishead’s Dummy.
In a 1998 Q magazine poll, readers voted it the eightieth greatest album of all time, while in 2000 Q placed it at number 34 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
In 1996, the song “A Final Hit” featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack.