Part 1 of Left Hand Right Hand's Red Letter Days (1992), performed live in the USA, UK and the Netherlands

Left Hand Right Hand was founded by Andrew and Tim Brown in the Summer of 1985, as a percussive spin-off from the free improvisation collective The Colonels. The brothers are the only constant members of the ensemble and have been joined over the years by a wide range of musicians and artists in a number of line-ups. Initial performances took place in Summer 1985 in Amsterdam, Wroclaw and Gdansk, before linking up the following year with Paul Ackerley and Bill Vince of Zahgurim for live dates in in Lewes, Rotterdam and Budapest. Left Hand Right Hand cemented their reputation as an impressive live act, often accompanied by silent films, contemporary dance and even a fire-breathing vocalist. Gutter Heijting, writing in Opscene, (Feb/March 1992) described ‘Tim Brown on plastic tube and a violin that he seemed to be sawing in half, and his brother Andrew playing guitar like an out of control racing car’.

Following the departure of Paul Ackerley after the release of Legs Akimbo CD in 1993, renowned Sheffield-based musician Charlie Collins (Clock DVA, The Box) joined the group and, with Karl Blake, Left Hand Right Hand effectively settled into a four-piece, albeit one still augmented by a range of guest musicians including drummer Q, Sally Doherty, Kathy Hulme and Derek Saw. There were numerous tours across Europe at venues such as Link (Bologna) and Tacheles (Berlin), with occasional live dates in the UK. For a complete breakdown of live shows and personnel see Performances

Film projections and live cinema have been a consistent feature of Left Hand Right Hand's work. Early performances, such as at London’s ICA and Third Eye Centre Glasgow (now CCA) in 1988, used discarded film and slides found in streets and skips across Europe alongside Super 8 and 16mm film shot by the group. In 1992 they made their debut tour of the USA and launched expanded cinema event Red Letter Days (see extract above), an exploration of European folklore and festivals that included footage of the Easter drumming marathons of Calanda (birthplace of Luis Bunuel) May Day parades, absurd and ritual public manifestations and commemorative events. They have also created scores for silent films such as A Page of Madness (Kurutta Ippeji 1927) by Japanese director Teinosuke Kinugasa, which the group were invited to perform at Brighton Festival in 2001 and then, with Dave Knight joining the line-up, at Cambridge Film Festival in 2003 and on a subsequent tour of UK independent cinemas.

Various studio and live recordings have been released over the years since the group became a studio-based entity. Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder has described Left Hand Right Hand as ‘like a snow globe, 20th Century subcultural sounds shaking atoms of blues and freeform, tribal rhythms and fractured funk, esoteric electronic and shortwave radio: signals from a distant planet partying as it collapses.’ Individually and collectively LHRH have continued to be involved in a wide range of sound, music and film projects. Hidden Hands, a 2-CD compilation that includes much previously unreleased alongside more recent material, is due for release imminently.