2014 marked the start of a collaborative artistic partnership with FutureEverything and Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music. From Robert Henke’s UK debut of Lumiere, whose creation of the pioneering Ableton Live software changed the way electronic music would be performed and produced forever, right through to The Space Lady‘s debut European performance, whose adoption of Casio’s then cutting edge new keyboard technology in the early 80s would unwittingly influence generations of artists almost a quarter of a century later, the focus on tools and the visionary creators behind them formed the central spine of the 2014 Live programme.

The opportunity to see the live re-appropriation of tools was presented through the world premiere of ‘Projectors’ the latest project from Martin Messier. As a composer, Messier uses everyday utilitarian objects to create electronic music with an unconventional twist, no better personified than his Sewing Machine Orchestra (2011) that re-imagined the sonic potential of the iconic Singer sewing machine. For ‘Projectors’ he turned his attention to the 8mm projector, tuning in on the acoustic noises produced by 1960s models, amplifying and processing the sounds.

FutureEverything always seeks to present something a little different with its Live programme, and not perhaps fall into the more traditional electronic music festival, club based lineups. This idea of context, or rather out-of context, was carried even further in the lineup brought together by one of the most exciting young British producers, Evian Christ. Presenting a live lineup of himself and some of Europe’s most interesting underground electronic music ‘auteurs’ in the formal surrounds of the RNCM theatre might have been deemed audacious enough on its own, however the careful selection of artists demanded close attention. Featuring Koreless, who brings a majestic serenity to the grimier sides of UK dub music; Lorenzo Senni, who twists the last dregs of euphoria out of trance music to create a stark insular experience; and the nocturnal grime evocations of Visionist, which revealed a lineup perfectly suited to their unfamiliar surrounds.

The exploration of tools didn’t stop with the manipulation and re-imagining of machines and technology, as Longplayer, the one thousand year long musical composition that began playing at midnight on 31 December 1999 and continues to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, ventured north for a special Choral Exposition at the RNCM. Here the development of a version of Longplayer that depends purely on the human voice was the focus, one that strips away the uncertainties attached to the future of technology and is a significant development in the projects ongoing story. It’s a story that none of us will see completed wherever our unknown future takes us.