Conscious Electronic’s Top 10 Livestreams of 2020
2020 has become a year for the history books for myriad reasons. The entire globe has undergone a shift–particularly the entertainment industry, as it found ways to survive in the face of complete shutdowns. With the COVID-19 pandemic came cancelled shows, festivals, and tours, which also provide the majority of a musician’s income and left many scrambling to find innovative ways to earn a living.
Easily the most dominating form of this came from the rise of livestreams. Since the initial lockdowns began in March, hundreds of these virtual festivals and shows have debuted across screens on a near-nightly basis. From underground streams with only a handful of viewers to sponsored festivals, there was a show for any genre and any time you were available to watch.
Not only did this new method of attending live music help some artists bring in funds, but they gave exposure to those who may not have gotten it in a normal year, and they gave live music access to many people who didn’t previously have it. While we all eagerly await the chance to return to music venues, livestreams also got us through a year of challenges in their own unique way, and had an interesting effect on the industry as artists vied for new ways of getting viewers’ and fans’ attention.
Some of those attempts stood out among the masses, for various reasons. Whether it was through the use of creative storytelling via song or by including classes and workshops, a handful of streams rose to the top and caught our attention as leaders both consciously and musically. Without further ado, we present Conscious Electronic’s Top Livestreams of 2020.
Check out more of our End of Year lists here.
The dance music world was struck to the core at the sudden, unexpected passing of i_o, the acid techno alias of Garrett Falls Lockhart. He was an ICON Collective graduate, deadmau5 protégé, and quickly rising headlining act. Lockhart’s swift ascendance and his dark, industrial persona were both gaining him heavy global attention. It was a persona that centered around i_o’s love of the underground and his deep commitment to techno’s warehouse resurgence. So it’s unsurprising how i_o’s death was met with widespread shock and dismay amongst his industry friends and colleagues, school and label mates, and fans.
Before his untimely passing, i_o recorded a livestream series with Jericho called Kitchen Sessions back in late March. The set cracks Conscious Electronic‘s Top 10 for obvious reasons. As the world continues reeling from the sudden death of i_o, it’s important to remember that though he is gone, he will never be forgotten.
View the full tracklist here. Rest In Peace, Garrett.
i_o x Jericho - Kitchen Sessions
SummerEyes Digital Festival turned heads earlier this summer with it’s interactive approach to the virtual festival experience and its striking underground bass curation. Hosted by our friends at EDM.com and MP3DU Magazine, the festival’s headlining tier was composed of Chee, Evee, ill.Gates, Mersiv, Justin Jay, Esseks, TRUTH, Shlump, LUZCID, and um..
Once you began cracking the second tier is when the real juices started flowing. The line-up was littered with countless rising bass all-stars, including Aplsoz, Super Future, Ravenscoon, Goopsteppa, Mystic Grizzly, UHNK, Chompaa, Easybaked, Black Carl!, Toadface, Space Geisha, Toadface, Abelation, A Hundred Drums, Tripp St., Rest In Pierce, and so many more, making the event a massive success before it even went down.
One of the best parts about the online event was how tuned-in and socially-aware the event’s organizers were to the current cultural landscape of the time. Throughout the two-day live stream, portions of proceeds from SummerEyes went to Black Lives Matter, Campaign Zero, and Until Freedom, an organization that empowers victims of racial injustice to “build, create, organize & fight.”
Flash back to early summer when the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests turned into a full-on global political movement. Sparked by the brutal cop killing of George Floyd, and partly motivated by COVID-fatigue and Trump’s abysmal handling of US race relations, the civil movement inspired nationwide industry shutdowns like Blackout Tuesday and #TheShowMustBeStopped. This was the political landscape that surrounded SummerEyes, and their response to it is what makes the live stream event crack our Top Ten.
Ravenscoon - SummerEyes Set
8. LiB DGTL
Oh, to reminisce on the early months of 2020. From the toilet paper hoarding to the dramatic shifts in the music industry, it all feels like a distant dream at this point in the year. Between all the difficult adjusting and complex collective experiences however, Southern California’s own DoLaB, the team behind Lightning In A Bottle (LiB), came to bless our memorial-day weekend with a maxed-out online music festival called DGTL LiB. Starting May 22, the limits were pushed for line-up potential in the festival-streaming world as it featured top-tier heavy-hitters such as OPIUO, Kaytranada, and Four Tet.
This at-home live music experience was truly one for the books, as several artists began to unveil ID after ID of tracks they were inspired to finish during quarantine. Community members organized and combined skill-sets for workshops and interactive portions of the festival in between the sets, which included crystal vendors, basket-weaving tutorials, and even Cacao infused opening/closing ceremonies. Online yoga workshops were offered as well, working as amazing additions to the overall vibe of the community portion of the stream.
A few notable performances were Conscious Electronic’s staff favorite CloZee who blessed long time fans and new listeners alike with a dramatic sneak-peak of her then-unreleased album, Neon Jungle, that had the stream chat in shambles.
An-ten-nae debuted his downtempo ‘medicine set,’ catering to a more meditative sound and energy. Following these performances Tokimonsta, Tycho, Beats Antique, Opiou, Mr. Carmack, Glitch Mob, Dirtwire, Shiba San, and Random Rab were some of the crowd favorites, each showcasing an array of dazzling new material and directions. From downtempo sonic dreamscapes from the likes of Tycho, to booming dance-floor house breaks from Shiba San, the festival truly delivered a plethora of electronic tempos and genres.
This was the first festival of 2020 that saw this much community interaction. From workshops to crystal vendors, to guided Kundalini Yoga meditations and crafts for kids, this event was a blessing for the community during the strange time that was the beginning of 2020. View a recap video of the entire festival below, where you can re-watch the action in its entirety.
No other collective has come quite as close to providing such a strong notion of support to the underground bass scene during quarantine quite like the Earth Tonez livestream has. This summer event was the brainchild of WubHub, Kouch Kollective and artist manager Natalie Wood. Originally set out to be a just small group of creatives wanting to raise money to donate money in the name of transgender/non-binary POC, the livestream acted as a melting pot of fiery new talent of both sonic and visual proportions.
This 3 day online festival in July included rising bass producers such as EZBZ, Hizzuk, Sky Suite, Wood.Wurks, Shatter, FeelMonger, Ginseng, Mistah Dill, and Conscious Electronic’s own Moon Lotus. Many of these artists came directly from Wood’s talent roster, as she proved yet again how capable she is at curating such an incredible audio and visual experience. The festival also placed an emphasis on giving a platform for flow artists by featuring an array of hoopers and poi dancers which included ShaelynSpins, katoflows, RooFlows, dubkeks, and 3EyedEli, just to name a few. Live VJs were on the clock the whole weekend to decorate the space for the music and included impeccable talent from VJT, The Vizard, and KellyFin.
Over the last couple of weeks, we got the chance to sit down with Wood, who had much to say regarding the event:
We’re confident the Wavecraft Collective is a force for good–and they’re set to push the limits for the bass music scene as a whole. Their grass roots come-up is inspiring as it is revolutionary, as they prove time and time again they are a force to be reckoned with. From their passion to their community-driven focus, this event fervently resonates with all we stand for at Conscious Electronic and easily lands in our top 10 livestreams of 2020.
Out of all the insane Halloween livestream events this year, not many matched the intensity of WTF’s That Spooky Massive. Several promoters including WTF’s That Sound, Headbang Society, Wubaholics, and Conscious Electronic joined forces to bring viewers a three-day event with over 36 hours of performances from more than 70 artists.
In retrospect, the Halloween weekend event was absolutely skull splitting. The promoters curated several heavy hitting headliners such as Born I, DirtySnatcha, Ruvlo, Ahee, Duffrey, and Secret Recipe. Additionally, the event featured a crazy amount of takeovers from a wide range of underground artists including Wormhole w/ Digital Introspect, Mean Mug, LoFreq, Subciety, Solace, Sweet Sounds Collective, and dem duudes. All of this was topped off with visuals provided by Drop Texture Designs and Digital Introspect.
For those who missed out on the livestream, WTF’s That Spooky Massive was off the charts, but one key little piece of the event solidified its place on this list. None other than Figure, “the guy with all the scary dubstep,” appeared as a special guest on Halloween night. Viewers not only got to enjoy a weekend filled with heavy bass from a wicked collection of artists, but also had the event closed off by an industry legend who specializes in clashing the horror genre with electronic music. If anything, WTF’s That Spooky Massive went out of its way to make up for a Halloween without a single in-person event.
JOKI - WTF's That Spooky Massive
5. LSDREAM's R.A.V.E. Cave
Throughout this past year, Wakaan icon LSDREAM brought his psychedelic sound and hypnotic visuals to a virtual stage multiple times. Known to many as the R.A.V.E Cave, the series of livestream events became LSDREAM’s stage to house several different cosmic performances for his steadily growing number of fans. Everything from funk to reggae to hard bass was on the table, and he consistently provided diverse and electrifying sounds during the series.
LSDREAM has been hyper-focused on helping his fans grow spiritually in the past months, dropping incredible guided meditations as well as healing sound frequency sets through his alias, LIGHTCODE, to encourage calm among all of 2020’s stressors. The result has been a sure increase in both his fan’s dedication and numbers, and made for some of the most conscious content on regular display this year.
Each specific livestream managed to properly portray the wide range of Sam Damient’s skills and creativity. Coupled with the LIGHTCODE meditation events, the R.A.V.E Cave series models what a true modern virtual event should be like. Nothing beats an event full of loud bass music, nasty bass faces, wobbles, wubs, and the chat begging for more. LSDREAM knocked it out of the park on numerous occasions. Luckily, the doors to the R.A.V.E Cave will soon open again for any headbanger craving some wicked bass and mind boggling visuals.
Also check out LSDREAM’s new downtempo-focused side-project, LIGHTCODE, who just made our 2021 Artists To Watch shortlist.
LSDREAM - R.A.V.E Cave
This year would have been the fourth year of Excision’s Lost Lands Festival, and was one of the last in the industry to have to deliver the unfortunate news of cancellation. While dedicated fans of the instant breakout fest were understandably dismayed, Excision (Jeff Abel) still managed to come through in a major way.
Couch Lands was originally for live broadcasting the festival sets to people who couldn’t attend, but ended up being modified during the pandemic to re-release old sets as well as premiere brand new sets from past lineup favorites. With three episodes over the course of three separate weekends, many of the best names in bass and dubstep brought filth right into people’s living rooms. Excision’s loyal fan following showed out each weekend, whether it was sending in head banging videos or making a homemade rail for your festival fam in the living room. It became instant lore in the most recent episode, when Abel himself performed a virtual stage set and afterwards introduced the start of his new label, Subsidia Records.
In many ways, Abelis like the Bass Dad we never knew we needed, giving lower tier producers a stage to show their work with the Sound Camps. Couch Lands also gave viewers the chance to donate to their favorite artists through easy links. Some of the artists broadcasted on Couch Lands over the course of the year included ATLiens, Blunts & Blondes, Subdocta, STUCA, Doctor P, Sullivan King, Yookie, and obviously Excision. While Couch Lands is sure to return in the future even when Lost Lands comes back in full, we can’t help but hope to get more online sets like the one below in the future.
Excision Subsidia Mix - Couchlands
3. EDC Virtual Rave-a-Thon
Pasquele Rotella is something of a legend in the dance music world. As the CEO and founder of Insomniac, one of the biggest EDM event production companies in the world, he’s consistently throwing down incredible parties all over the globe. From multiple versions of EDC to smaller events like Beyond Wonderland and Dreamstate SoCal, they’re total pros with the best connections to artists and funds anywhere.
It came as no surprise to anyone when Rotella announced the first Virtual Rave-a-Thon event to replace EDC Las Vegas after it’s cancellation. The first EDC Virtual Rave-A-Thon took place from May 15th to May 17th, the same weekend the festival was set to go down. This was Insomniac’s first take at a livestream since the covid-19 pandemic began, but it would be far from their last. Right off the bat, Rotella did a fantastic job on creating an atmosphere that mimics the production of a real festival.
While many livestreams simply had the producer playing send in live clips of themselves, the Rave-a-Thon events typically invited the artists to a studio in Los Angeles to play their sets on location. Complete with themed decor depending on the event, a booth with Rotella hosting, and lights and visuals for fans to enjoy, it replicated the live event scene as closely as possible in the digital age. Artists took advantage of the unique opportunity by displaying new ID’s, but also by using the intimate setting to connect with their fans, as many didn’t and still don’t know when they’ll next be seeing their favorite artist.
Insomniac had no fear of setting the bar high, always providing quality lineups for the Rave-a-Thon events, with headliners from all genres including 12th Planet, Don Diablo, Ekali, Subtronics, Zeds Dead, and so, so many more. Insomniac’s commitment to providing the best of the dance scene to fans in a positive, upbeat way sealed their spot on this list.
Zeds Dead - EDC Virtual Rave-a-Thon
2. Supertask's Bicycle Day Stream
This year, Supertask (aka Kyle Bishoff) put on one of the most creative and innovative livestreams that quarantine culture had ever seen. The four-hour-long set went live on April 19, which is more commonly referred to as Bicycle Day. The day marks the discovery of LSD over 77 years ago when chemist Albert Hoffman became the first human to consume the synthesized substance in his lab and later felt its effects on his bicycle ride home.
To celebrate this sacred day of psychonautic homage, Super task put in over 200 hours the making of this mind-blowing “choose your own adventure” livestream. This DIY-styled production format was groundbreaking for many reasons, but mostly because it ultimately put the power of control directly into the hands of Bishoff’s fans.
Bishoff filmed multiple alternate storylines in his set’s visuals beginning with the filming of his then-girlfriend going for a bike ride. Fans then voted by donating through Venmo to democratically determine which direction her psychedelic adventure would lead her. In turn, their votes and the stream’s powerful visual messages allowed viewers to realize that they are in control of their thoughts, and by extension, the entire course of their life.
Not only was the nuanced set so perfectly suited for the explosion of streaming culture at the time, it was visionary… Keep in mind, mid-April was the time when the pandemic was still initially shutting down the industry and world. The stream’s conceptual vision was perfectly timed in another way, too. At a time when already-struggling professional creatives were forced to give up their main source of incomes due to lack of touring, Bishoff built on the capitalist notion that “money talks;” all the while inspiring his virtual audience to feel something, to question everything, and to take control of the narrative. It was pure surface meets substance.
With main takeaways like “surrendering to the moment” and learning to “live in the now,” letting go of expectation and “enjoying the ride” regardless of where it takes you, charting the “unexplored areas of the mind” and going deeper to “think for yourself,” and making the choice between love and fear, Supertask was effectively able to earn his paycheck while giving his fanbase something they will take with them forever. It was a huge hit, too. The Supertask fanbase exploded and veteran fans couldn’t stop clammering, speaking about the stream as a life-changing moment.
Now, for those paying attention, Supertask is back to his regular programming of Twitch live streams with his “creation” sessions, where fans can watch Bishoff edit music in hid FL Studio. Back in summer, he showcased his personal journey with the release of “Healing,” which made our Top Singles of 2020 shortlist. He’s also hosting another “choose your own adventure” stream on January 3, so be sure to tune in via Supertask’s Twitch.
Supertask - Bicycle Day Livestream
1. Digital Mirage
Coming in the top spot is Digital Mirage. The Brownies & Lemonade and Proximity co-hosted events were some of the industry’s most anticipated event throughout quarantine. From Kaskade live streaming from his LA-based Arkade Studios and G JONES and Gryffin debuting never-before-heard tracks, to Chet Porter performing the world’s first underwater DJ set and GRiZ dedicating a set to Black Lives Matter, there were so many stops that EDM’s finest yanked from their bag of tricks in 2020.
Following their wildly-successful first two live stream events, Digital Mirage and Digital Mirage 2.0, the two partners geared up on yet another Thanksgiving edition. As their third iteration, Digital Mirage Friendsgiving saw live sets from the top global artists in dance music. With stunning performances from The Glitch Mob, Louis The Child, Wave Racer, and ZHU b2b NGHTMRE, the event series’ special Thanksgiving edition certainly lived up to its name.
G Jones - Digital Mirage
Conscious Electronic - Top Livestreams of 2020
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