This year, the world’s dancefloors, venues and festivals largely went quiet in the face of a global pandemic.
Despite all this, artists, festivals and clubs did everything they could to keep the music alive, adapting to a socially distanced world with livestreams, remote festivals and filmed performances that responded to the COVID-19 era.
Festivals such as Unsound and Semibreve turned their IRL festivals into communal online events, while Refraction Festival created an entirely new concept to being live music to people’s homes. We began a new series, Fact Live, in which we invited artists to film sessions at 180 The Strand.
Below, we look back on a few of our favourite live sessions from 2020, including meditative ambient music, audio-visual sets, turntable experimentalism and more. To see everything from our collection of live performances, check out the archive.
One of the highlights of online festival Refraction was this mammoth three-hour showcase from Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes label, featuring DJ Diaki, Ecko Bazz, MC Yallah, Afrorack, Rey Sapienz & Fresh Dougis, HHY & The Kampala Unit and DJ Duke.
The first in our series of live session filmed at 180 The Strand in London came from GAIKA, whose incredible set marked the release of his latest record, Seguridad.
Prague’s Lunchmeat Festival was one of the few European festivals to go ahead this year, albeit under COVID-secure measures. Nkisi & Yung Liberaci’s performance as Axis Arkestra gave us a cathartic set of noisy, experimental techno.
In this Fact Live set, Paranoid London, the hardware-heavy project of Quinn Whalley and Gerardo Delgado perform a set of raw acid house and techno with Mutado Pintado on vocals.
In this set, filmed for Portuguese festival Semibreve’s remote 2020 edition, Laurel Halo performs a meditative ambient set at Braga’s 17th century Monastery of São Martinho de Tibães.
In this Fact Live performance, we invited composer and electronic artist Shiva Feshareki to present a new work, ‘Turning Tides’, a dynamic composition made with turntable, CDJ, mixer and Space Echo that she composed in-the-moment by feeling the living energy of the space.
In the last Fact Live of 2020, Petbrick to perform a set of noise and metal-influenced electronics. A collaborative project between Big Lad’s Wayne Adams and Iggor Cavalera of Sepultura and Mixhell, the set features visuals from Laima Leyton.
This set from Ash Koosha based on his HALLUCiNATO mixtape features visuals by collaborator Isabella Winthrop, with a concept described as “a machine hallucinating in multi-sensory audio visual narratives.”