When you find yourself shored up at Tobacco Dock, you feel as though you have chosen a safe mooring. The venue exceeds itself in style; a renovated complex that seems well suited to its oscillating scene. What better place than this converted and makeshift hub, this multifarious multi-storey, for London Electronic Arts Festival.

A dance and club convention does seem a strange premise, unconventional, but it is a lauded experience at Amsterdam Dance Event for one (and most notably). A welcome platform for underground music gaining ground of late, you might think. In all honesty, naysayers have their points, but ever since Dylan went electric the form has been casting its shape on the mainstream. Whilst LEAF cannot present the whole narrative, it did feature some top influencers in that story.

I ran into Rob Da Bank, purveyor of electronic music and LEAF curator. Curator is a term you see bandied about, on Bank's Sunday Best festivals for instance, but with him it holds true. The man keeps busy, and seems to keep his team even busier. With no grand plan, as he tells me, there is still a mission to expand the brand to new sites and sounds. Whilst elsewhere the process must be reactive, curating for a conference and concert has given him more creative control. It shines in the booking of Nile Rodgers - giving a 3 hour Q&A I will touch on next - and also the array of prime movers; Ninja Tune primarily. The atmosphere is collectively celebratory. Spoiler: crowd dynamic did change for the Saturday club... the aficionados were substituted with less devout disciples, echoing something said in the B. Traits drug talk about crowd dynamics changing as legal highs incorporated most of the young into the club, and thus the club into a commercial model.

Now Nile Rodgers is pretty much an institution in himself; a frame in every scene. I get the reflex reaction of some that he has pervaded the scene of late, a better word may be permeate. But, as a producer studiously making dance before its first studios, he knows the electronic mind if not its modern soul. The audience couldn't cast doubt on his spellbinding love of music. One of a thousand anecdotes remarked on how a band member was once revived on stage with a wish to play to the final song, or how Nile Rodgers himself composed his way through cancer. As he says, music is the only art that can chase you down the street, the most invasive, but also derivative; quoting Verdi, "good composers borrow, great composers steal". All true, and we were told he learnt from synth groups like Silver Apples, a myriad of '60s influences including film that lead him to "blasphemy" in using drum machines and electronic techniques. The breach in ethos I think formed on the whole 'style is substance', something that is at odds with the spirit of DJ culture (despite Rodgers seeking out flair over fame in artists such as Krystal Klear most recently). At least he spoke a sad note for the loss of the warehouse underground.

Two elements at LEAF have been fairly formulaic in giving electronic music its soul, in the UK at least. 808 State and Ninja Tune were both present, and presented themselves and the scene at its best; 25 years since the former's seminal Ninety release, and the latter's formation. A rich history, not with the breadth of Rodgers but not missing in depth, and perhaps better attuned to the current. The former in ways provided the instrumentation, the latter the implementation. 808 State were as much an import of Hip Hop and Detroit as an export from the UK scene they soon encapsulated. John Peel was key to this in showing his ever guiding hand, and the fresh-eared Dance crowds absorbed these sounds. That said, the conversation did allude in its almost fidgety form, to the gulf Massey has felt from not only fellow members but his tropical classics. This distance was felt in their show, the renditions coming across as reflections on the originals. Despite being kind of hit and hit missed, it still served to anchor the event to a key theme, and what the original was; innovation.

Ninja Tune plugged their label, but with poignancy. 25 years on, they have a roster of artists that - with Bonobo, Roots Manuva, Romare, et al - have risen to dominance without needing big money backup. Ninja Tune may not have said it so forwardly themselves, but they are among the forefront of independent electronic labels that have rallied against the industry at large. Ninja Tune told no lies about their eclecticism, their personal devotion to artists. Looking at their track record, one could find some subjective flaws, but objectively, it is flawless. This approach seemed naturally linked to the wonderful collaboration of Kate Simko and the London Electronic Orchestra. Innovation again, is driving the scene forward, and gaining it pace and direction.

Modeselektor performed with the dexterity and diversity that has made them mix-masters of both musical companions and compilations, but with the showmanship LEAF spoke to me as blotting out. With a scale of talent beyond being tipped by performance DJs, I was unsure of their antics, and expected more respect for the live craft. Craftmanship is what sets the duo apart. Tale of Us's tense, perforating techno had the crowd taking more than they were being given. Sasha as ever was the master of that too, expertly reeling in the crowd for a true experience. It didn't need artificial hype-manship.

Electronic music is in a true renaissance. It has become a bandied about phenomenon, but it has not been bullied. LEAF showcased the vibrant reverberations the scene is putting out there, from the basement up.