In Taiwan, we were blessed to largely avoid any direct impacts of the COVID/19 pandemic. Throughout 2020, we were still able to hold live events in small or medium-sized venues, due to the strong defensive action taken by the Taiwan Centre for Disease Control, and the island’s own geography.  
In the beginning of the global lockdown last year, a few performers of different backgrounds and I began to think about how to connect a variety of sound creators to create auditory and conceptual interactions. This led us to form an art organisation called CONFLUENCE EXPERIENCE,  and to hold a monthly experimental event called “META FLEXING (a monthly event organised by Tzu Ni, Immanuel Dannenbring, Clansie Cheng Dao-Yuan, Chia-Chun Xu and Lu Li-Yang) at Final (an underground electronic club in Taipei where many interesting producers gather), in which we attempt to explore our possibilities within the post-epidemic era. However, we have gradually felt a sense of economic and cultural stagnation setting in. Due to the second wave, the suspension of art and cultural activities overseas has continued and it’s not been possible to effectively interact and cooperate with foreign musicians.
Perhaps this is Taiwan’s own blessing and curse. Our destiny, in the international context, seems to be as an island that is always either emerging or sinking. 

In this article, I will introduce three different artists who are not so well known, and have not received significant exposure in international press: LALA REICH is a drummer, LL (XIN-YUN CAI) performs using electronics, and A-LING is a multimedia artist.
I must reiterate that what is written in this article does not represent the entire Taiwan scene and instead it is my subjective choice.  This article emerged as an extension of an organic conversation at Lechat (a well known coffee shop in Taipei, where people involved in creative communities have gathered for decades, that closed down but has reopened with the name Goat-flea), the stereo in the background playing old dub music at first, before transitioning to some Korean hip hop background music.

Lala Reich – pic by Zhong Afang


Lala is the drummer of St. Sloth Machine. I got to know her after sharing the stage with Berserk, who then introduced me to Taipei’s second hand record shop, Senko Issha. She started her solo project as LaLa Reich after St. Sloth Machine stopped regularly performing, and she plays on and off with various artists. Her bandmate, Jyun-Ao Caesar, is also still active in the scene. I invited him to perform at Lacking Sound Fest when I curated it in 2018. Recently, he has been using guitar to explore high frequencies, suspended in space, that resemble the sound of crickets.
Lala was not trained as a conventional drummer. During her childhood, she considered herself more visually oriented rather than focused on sound. While we were chatting about her roots, we realised that our young selves were both into  the Japanese band  Dir En Grey and their album Macabre; Lala laughed and told me that at the time the floor tom in that album was an important trigger point toward being interested in drumming.
When exploring drums, Lala’s path was rather different than most drummers – almost the opposite: generally speaking, drummers train on changing the beats in the measure or on maintaining a constant tempo, whereas Lala only did training on that later on. I enjoyed listening to her percussion that does not deliberately put herself on tempo but responds to collaborators or band members, it reaches a delicate and clear direct sense of body and reflects her intuition honestly. The way she plays freely; like an animal exploring while playing, is unpredictable and spontaneous and it reminds me of Zun Long – the drummer of the band Forests which is not active at the moment.



A-Ling is a multimedia artist who has no performance experience and only works in audio files but has a unique taste in the editing and processing of sounds. Her main medium is ceramic sculpture but to her the connection between visual imagination and sound connection is complex. When working on sounds, A-Ling doesn’t have any preliminary drafts nor a visualisation of the final result. She picks up sound textures through curiosity and intuition, like a feisty squirrel trying to build a house.

LL – pic by Etang Chen


LL(Cai Xin-Yun)’s performance texture is often a gentle and consistent sound wall. She told me that when she was younger,  she used to listen to post-rock and shoegaze and to occasionally play guitar; I can detect such influences in the distinctive features of her performances’ blurred sound texture, which does not entirely belong to these days. She somehow triggers sound that is able to honestly reflect her self-image on an image available to the audience – and she has contentedly been making various attempts at this. Recently, we played together as a duo in Meta Flexing vol. 5 and mutually created a pleasant auditory dialogue.

I feel that all the three of them can be described through a keyword, which isVIOLENCE“, even if in an atypical definition of it. Lala’s drumming is physical and intuitive like a child in the playground who bumps into your body accidentally, while LL(Cai Xin-Yun)’s music is like a soft hammer and A-Ling’s somehow feels like a twisty and evil tiny animal biting back and forward.

The way I discovered the two aforementioned artists’ work was through OUTER PULSATION – a guerrilla noise gig launched by Chia Chun Xu, formerly Berserk and currently the core member of Meta Flexing.
On a monthly basis Outer Pulsation invites artists that live or are temporarily in Taiwan to perform in tunnels and bridges in the greater area of Taipei; interacting with space, objects, and traffic flow, they create a non-verbal description or a response to the site itself. Each performance has a limited electrical equipment, which is a large capacity battery.
Outer pulsation’s line-ups have included many  interesting sound artist from all over Taiwan: Yang Zhiyu – AKA  Bei San Q Nan – who bafflingly  took part in a university music contest and turned into a noise meme; Zhang Xin (formal stage name: Sheryl Cheung); two core members of Xiao Juchang – “Little Play” (a theater-like venue in Taichung that lighted up the local experimental scene; it used to be run by experimental artist Shi-Chao Lai and Immanuel Dannenbring): DJ REX CHEN / CHEN YI CHUNG, a turntablist from Taichung who played a crucial role in activating its experimental scene and Xiao Liu, a self-taught free-jazz saxophonist who has worked on several different projects; or Fang-yi Liu, the core member of Cochlea Lab in Kaohsiung.

Among Outer pulsation’s performances,  I was extremely impressed by #17: Liu Fangyi (Cochlea lab) performed in Shilin tunnel and used its pipeline’s stainless-steel sealing plates to create a perfect low reverberation accompanying not only the tunnel own resonating melody, but also the high-frequency echo created by Jyun Ao’s guitar, who was playing five meters away. In this same show, Dino was shaping an ideal dialogue between his no-input pedal and an erhu, a traditional instrument. Such sweet spots make Outer pulsation a unique treasure compared to any other standard venues.

Special thanks Opal Beau and Jo for partial article refining.

In a social landscape filled to the brim with busy work, Tzu-Ni seeks to create a setting or an environment where a listener or viewer might enter into a dream state, momentarily isolated from the outer world, and in that space be able to more intensely perceive one’s frame of mind & body.