Futuresonic today announces the shape of its three-day, city-wide music and media festival, which runs 20-23 July at venues across Manchester . The festival includes headline music acts, breaks new bands and DJs, premieres new, cutting-edge technologies and artworks – and gives Manchester an urban festival unlike any other in the UK .

Futuresonic 2006 is split into two strands: Futuresonic Live and Urban Play. Proving that electronica has a life beyond laptops, Futuresonic Live focuses on new, live and experimental music. It’s headlined by the undisputed star of electronica , Christian Fennesz; and includes Warp Records’ new supergroup, Battles; all the leading lights of the dubstep scene combined in one killer DMZ showcase; the electro-punk euphoria of Berlin duo Cobra Killer ; mysterious agitators Various Production, who put an electro-funk twist on grime; and many other acts.

Urban Play is about taking over the city and using technology creatively. It features world-first collaborative software projects, art exhibitions, walking tours, hit-and-run buskers, new musical instruments the likes of which have never been seen, conferences exploring the rise and impact of shared, open source and social technologies - and more.

“For our 10 th birthday we decided to pull out all the stops –,” says Drew Hemment, Festival Director. “This year’s festival is 100% fun, experimental and something we expect people to roll their sleeves up and get involved in. Manchester has always been at the forefront of music, and now it’s pioneering both new music and new forms of media.”

Futuresonic Live

Friday 21 – Sunday 23 July, at Academy 2 and venues across Manchester ’s Northern Quarter

Many events will be free, some ticketed and discounted.

The future of electronic music is played out across three nights of live gigs, DJ/VJ acts, club nights and performances. Christian Fennesz headlines the weekend. Praised by David Sylvian for his ‘emotional integrity’, this is a rare UK performance by the pioneer and leader of contemporary electronic music, a musician who weaves melodies and guitars into a dense, symphonic form of electronica. Battles are described by Warp Records as ‘one of the most exciting bands we’ve ever produced’, and are attracting international praise. The East Coast (US) four-piece band defy labels to combine post-rock, jazz, funk and electronics with beat-centric sequences that have stunned audiences across the US.

DMZ (featuring Digital Mystikz, Kode 9, Skream, Plastician, Loefa and others) are the international pioneers of Dubstep. An entirely new hybrid with its roots in jungle, dub sound systems and UK garage, dubstep has emerged alongside grime to produce a bubbling dancefloor vibe of serious grooves and heavy basslines. The future of urban music - grime gets instrumental. Berlin-based duo CobraKiller’s riotous performances combine crowd surfing and hula-hooping with electronic rock, filthy electro, subversive lyrics, sharp breaks – and red wine. Lauded by Sonic Youth, this is a rare chance to see Cobra Killer perform in the UK . Despite only releasing a handful of 45's, Various Production have clawed the attention of every sharp A&R operative in the country, making them the name on everyone's lips for their debut album on XL (out this summer). Various Productionproduce the most advanced, forward thinking and mashed-up pop you could ever wish to hear.

As well as headline gigs, Futuresonic presents its second EVNT Showcase in association with some of the most talented promoters from Manchester and beyond. This builds on the success of last year’s Showcase, where venues throughout the city’s Northern Quarter opened their doors to music lovers for a weekend of smaller electronic, dance, post-rock and club gigs. Over 30 events took place last year alone, with acts from as far afield as New York , Moscow , Berlin and Dallas .

Urban Play

Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 July, at venues across Manchester

All events free

Urban Play is a chance for people to play and experiment with the everyday technologies that shape their lives. An extensive media arts programme, it features cutting-edge technologies, brand new commissions and artworks exclusive to the UK . Urban Play turns the city into a digital canvas, the street into a gallery and urban space into a performance space.

Urban Play includes: Off The Map - an exhibition looking at next generation mapping technologies and including installations from around the world. Lose yourself in the glitches as you glide over the deserts and canyons of Arizona , in a VJ installation by Brazilian artist Satellite Jockey using Google Earth (a 3D search engine for any location on the planet). Mapchesteris a world-first collaborative 'wikimap' - a free, open and editable map of the city, generated and maintained by you - that works in the same way as Wikipedia . Peripheral: The Manchester SoundMap , is a sound-based website where users can remix the sounds of Manchester to create unique and beautiful music.

Instrument is a unique exhibition and performance of interactive musical and visual instruments. These artist-made instruments, noise generators and image manipulators are all entirely new, some exclusive to Futuresonic or getting their first UK airing at this year’s festival. sCrAmBlEd?HaCkZ! allows you to speak into a microphone and hear and see an 80s pop star mimic your every word, in real time. Unique software analyses your voice and matches it to outtakes from a database of 80s music videos. The outtakes are reordered and reassembled so fast that, no sooner have the words left your mouth, they are spoken back to you . Drawn , an exclusive by artist Zachary Lieberman and musician Pardon Kimura, brings hand-drawn paintings digitally to life, again in real time. And Japanese wunderkind, Toshio Iwai presents a UK-first live performance of the aptly-named TENORI-ON- Japanese for 'sound on your palm'.

Urban Play also includes The Social Technologies Summit . Two specialist conferences - PLAN ( The Pervasive and Locative Arts Network) and Collaborative Cultures and Social Technologies, plus a profile artist talk by Japanese media artist, Toshio Iwai – are a chance to explore the potential of open source and shared technologies.