Life is slowly opening up again, and there's a mad rush to the pub for that glorious heady pint. But we know that the sound of thundering bass from a basement club is still out of reach.
You could go and find an illegal rave if you like. You could pretend that you never really liked going out much anyway and that you don't miss it.
But we have a much better idea. One that won't get you arrested, and doesn't require you to abstain from one of life's true pleasures. Stay home, stay safe and healthy, and party with some of the best lockdown livestreams of the year so far. Our list features some of the biggest names in electronic music, so text your neighbours to tell them that it might get a bit loud, and let's dive in.
For an Hour of Pure Joy
Sama' DJ set @ ReConnect | Beatport Live
First things first, the quality of the video isn't up to much, and the lighting effects are pretty lo-fi. But hey, in tough times like these, you have to have some imagination. So, turn on your £10 party light from Amazon and pretend that Sama' is DJing your own little private living room rave.
Much more importantly, this lockdown livestream showcases the two things that define Sama''s DJing: a delightful, kooky energy and a knack for lining up a seemingly endless queue of tracks that are so good we challenge you not to dance.
It is surely only a matter of time until Sama' is a household name for all ravers across the world, with her ability to pick a beat and her approach to track lists that sees big names perfectly coupled with an array of lesser known producers. Our picks here are Kebin van Reeken – 'Annihilation' and Carbon – 'Dirty Riot'. Skip to 27:00 to hear the latter and see Sama''s dancing at its best.
There's something for everyone. Tracks to recognise and new ones to discover, synth-heavy orchestral techno, and rhythmic Eastern dances. It's why we love her so much; she gives the people what they want and what they didn't know they needed to discover.
Oh, and we have absolutely no idea what is going on with the guy in the computer screen at the bottom left either…
For Some No-Nonesense, High-Energy Techno
Ellen Allien b2b Héctor Oaks Live Streaming, Griessmuehle Berlin 08.05
One of the comments sums up Ellen and her legacy in the industry pretty well: "Ellen Allien went into a club in 1991 and never left". With her skills on the decks, it certainly seems that way sometimes. Héctor may be the junior partner here in terms of age, but he does not get left behind. His signature intensity and love of hard bass twins beautifully with Ellen's never ending bouncing.
And let’s just take a moment to mention that this is a vinyl only b2b set as well, making it just that bit more special. It's no surprise that these two have the ability to pull off the challenging setup, but it does show you that you are in the hands of two masters of the craft.
There is a smattering of tracks produced by the pair throughout the set, with Héctor's take on Ellen's 'Free Society' showing you just why these two work so well together. Relentless pace and hypnotic spoken vocals layered over classic pounding bass. You couldn't ask for much more.
The beauty of a back to back set is in the unexpected, unforeseen turns that the sets can take when two different spinners at are the helm. Look out for a glorious example of this around the 36' mark. Stick with it as two minutes of incessant and insistent drive (in the form of Ramirez – 'Hablando (Push Remix)') is smoothly interspersed with hints of melancholy vocals. A new bassline fades in, Ellen bends the pitches, and then suddenly drops the beat out entirely. We are treated to a moment of respite with 'Gallowdance' by Lebanon Hanover. It's a blissful and inspired moment amid such tireless and ferocious beats.
For Some Indie Disco and House
Perel Boiler Room: Streaming from Isolation
With a Perel set, you are bound to get a bit of everything, and this Boiler Room livestream was no different. From a lowkey opening with Bruce Springsteen – 'State Trooper (Trentemøller Remix)', the vibe shifts into that of a 1980s space-age dream. If you can tell us of a better mood for a party than that, we'd love to hear it.
20 minutes in, you get a taste of what really sets Perel apart from many of her peers, for her upcoming track 'Feuer+Wasser', she picks up the microphone and adds drama-infused live vocals to the poppy beat.
Her love for the 80s is really hammered home when she sticks on Kraftwerk's 1981 hit 'Computer Love'. We reckon there is little better in the world than watching a DJ loving what they do, dancing as though they were playing for themselves only. This moment captures that feeling perfectly.
Her trademark singing returns for the last track, 'Spuistraat'. Named after a street in her new home city, Amsterdam, the track embodies everything that we love about Perel. It is camp, upbeat, beautifully layered, the vocals original and captivating. But above all, it has ludicrous danceability.
For Fans of the National Trust or Those Who Just Really Want to See a Castle
Charlotte de Witte 'New Form' II: Return to Nowhere
The set was actually the launch event of her new EP, 'Return to Nowhere', turned into a livestream event in the absence of a massive world tour. With those plans put on hold for next year, and her many adoring fans without the chance to see her live at a festival this summer, it's no surprise that she went all out for this set.
The Gravensteen castle creates a dramatic backdrop for the stream, offering commanding views over her home city of Ghent in Belgium. The black and white Xs of her record label KNTXT are flying from the flagpoles and she stands alone on the ramparts (save for a couple of camera crew). To many, she is the new Queen of techno, so where would be more fitting for her to play?
In contrast to her first lockdown livestream, the tone of the music is austere, and the style is almost brutally minimalist. It all works to complement the atmosphere of the 'Return to Nowhere' EP, which takes inspiration from the sacred vocal music of the renaissance.
The vocal-synth riff on 'Return to Nowhere' shows de Witte at her best as a producer. It is hypnotic, its simple layering drawing you deeper and ever deeper into the beat as you listen. She offsets this with ten minutes of high-energy bass drive before dropping the lead single from the new EP.
'Sgad Li Mi' is the high point of the set, its soaring vocal lines perfectly suited to the backdrop. It is utterly haunting and enchanting, filled with a longing that only Eastern music and the melodic minor can conjure. But before you go away thinking that this no longer sounds like techno music, Charlotte's signature TR-808 bass drum and a beefy bass lead kick back in.
For Some Truly Stunning Scenery
The Blaze at Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix, France for Cercle
Cercle is potentially the best in the world at creating jaw-dropping videos of techno, house and EDM sets, often filmed in unlikely and spectacular locations.
The usual crowds aren't present, but Cercle certainly pulled off the dramatic with the setting for this concert by French duo The Blaze. The cousins stand on an observation deck on a rocky outcrop high up in the Alps above Chamonix. It really does not get any more beautiful than this.
It would be easy to focus entirely on the visuals, with smooth drone and 4K footage of the mountain scenery and an azure sky. But aside from everything else, this is a top-quality set.
Playing solely their own music, each track flows easily into the next. If you are looking for something relaxing, this is the perfect digital destination. Lie back and let the soft vocals and swooping, silken synths wash over you.
The highlight comes after 42 minutes, with the duo's biggest hit, 'Territory'. As the hypnotic piano line kicks in, it feels almost like the holding of a breath. The camera pans out and up once more, showing the crystalline sky. Then Guillaume sings into the mic, the vocals heavy with reverb, "We’ve waited for this day". We can only hope that we won't have to wait very much longer before we can finally meet again on the dancefloor.
It's hard not to be poetic about electronic music and the effect it can produce in you when viewing this set. Here, even with no live audience, everything combines perfectly to create a mesmerising final product; one that will stick with you long after you have finished watching.
For Some Adorable Dad Dancing and Homemade Signs
Thomas Schumacher DJ Set @Drumcode Indoors II | Beatport Live
Schumacher is a German techno veteran, he's been DJing since the mid-90s, his skill as a producer and his knack for reading crowds ensuring his consistent popularity over the best part of three decades. Although he tours extensively and has released a series of massive tracks in the last few years, his name doesn't tend to appear on massive festival lineups, hence his relative anonymity outside of his home country.
The rest of the world is beginning to wake up to his talent at long last though. He released his first EP on Drumcode earlier this year and created a track with Victor Ruiz, inspired by The Terminator's 'Reese Dreams of Future War', which was released on Drumcode's 'A-Sides, Vol 9'. His next venture with the label was his appearance at the Drumcode Indoors II event in association with Beatport Live.
There are a couple of technical glitches on the video, which is a real shame, because - and we cannot overstate this – it is quite simply superb. He seamlessly weaves together several of his latest tracks, combining exhilarating acid leads with fuzzy synths and resounding bass.
In the second half of the set, there are smooth transitions between 'The Fuzz', 'Feist' and his remix of the Cherry Moon classic 'House of House', each of which have become guaranteed crowd pleasers and staples in Schumacher's sets.
Although you can never recreate the atmosphere or have the synergy of a club set in a livestream setting, there are some real gems in this set. And you will still get the treat of watching his trademark dad-dancing, which makes the whole thing worthwhile in itself. If you watch to the end, his daughter Stella also makes an appearance, dancing along with her dad to a track named in her honour. Who doesn't love good wholesome family content after all?
For A Chilled Sunday Afternoon
Pan-Pot Berlin Boat Ride
Pan-Pot's mix is perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, with most of the tracks being melodic and atmospheric techno rather than the bass-heavy, punishing sort of tracks for which the German capital is famous. The pair (reunited after Thomas had to cut a round-the-world-trip short because of Corona) keep the tempo and atmosphere chill, while Berlin floats slowly by.
There are tunes from fellow Berliners FJAAK ('Breath') and Paul Kalkbrenner ('Der Buhold') through to the Marco V remix of the 1990 classic 'Age of Love'. It's an eclectic mixture of straight up techno and funky offbeat summer jams.
With this long a set, you'd be forgiven for having assumed that things might drag a little. Certainly, it's not an all-out energy filled affair, but there is plenty of rise and fall. Pan-Pot show that they can pace things nicely, even without a crowd to feed off and read. After a fleet of lighter beats, a stand-out moment comes just past two hours into the set, with Thomas sliding from Len Faki's remix of 'Death' by Humano into the darker and grittier tone of Farrago's remix of Under Black Helmet - 'Mute'.
If you have a few hours spare, we can't think of much better to do than to enjoy this masterclass in summer music from two of the best in the business.