Taiwan indie arts and music

It was September 2015 when I visited Taiwan to experience and research the arts and music of the indigenous people, traditonal Chinese and indie artists.
The people and places I have listed in this blog are mainly the ones I met and visited while on tour in Taiwan. I hope this blog can bring awareness to the works of art by these people.
Published on:
06 May, 2016 for the first version.
この記事の日本語版もありまして http://www.junichi-usui.com/articles/2016/05/05/taiwan-indie-arts-music/ でございます

Bands, musicians, artists in Taipei(台北)

李世揚, Shih-Yang Lee


Shih-Yang Lee is a pianist and composer with a background in Western classical music. In recent years he has also tried to organize and perform in sessions of improvised music.

My favorite work for his improvisation in a session with Sabu Toyozumi.

He was leading a band called “Ka Dao Yin” with unique lineup of sax, Chinese sheng, Guzheng(Chinese plucked string instrument) which sounds like Jan Garbarek and other Scandinavian jazz. This work is another one of my favorites.

謝明諺, Min-Yen Hsieh

Min-Yen Hsieh is a saxphone player with the background in standard jazz music, which he studied at Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel.
He also has also experimented with improvised music in recent years and often performs with Shih-Yang, Hsiao-Feng and Sonic Deadhorse.

In 2014, Min-Yen visited Japan for several gis and here is a video of the session sith Sabu Toyozumi and other local musicians.

林小楓, Hsiao(Xiao)-Feng Lin

Hsiao-Feng Lin is a traditional Chinese flute player who plays various kinds of traditonal flutes and has performed traditonal music, world music, contemporary music, free improvisation, collaborations with dance, painting, martial arts. He is an another prominent improviser in the recent Taipei scene.

Colloboration with traditonal martial arts.

音速死馬, Sonic Deadhorse

Sonic Deadhorse plays a guitar which is connected to effect pedals, laptop and other media divices. In addtion, he often synchronizes his instrument with real time video performance.

He has uploaded many his works onto soundcloud as below.

Sonic Deadhorse has also supported many female artists/singers; you can find his works on youtube.

Aristophanes 貍貓

Female hiphop artist from Taipei, and toured Japan more than two times.

She often collaborates with Sonic Deadhorse in this video.

Ruby Fatale

Female sound artist, visual performer who often collaborates with Sonic Deadhorse.

Meuko Meuko

Meuko Meuko is a name of solo project and she is also a member of the band called The Shine&Shine&Shine&Shine.

王福瑞, Fujui Wang

One interesting artist from Taiwan, but never got the opportunity to meet him. You can find his other works on youtube.

謝瀞瑩, Olifa Hsieh

Olifa Hsieh studied electro music after a basic program of Western classical music in Germany. She plays tuba, piano, voice, laptop and has also been active in other fields of art including: film, a critic, field recording.

Here are her field recording works.

黃大旺, Dawang Yingfan Huang

Dawang Yingfan has been a keyperson to the underground art scene in Taiwan for many years and his music performance is very unique, through a spontaneous and a shamanic approach with many effect pedals, toy instruments, things and acoustic instruments.


Luo Chao-yun

Luo Chao-yun plays the pipa: a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument. Not only traditonal music, she has collaborated with many improvisers around the world, including Roger Turner, John Russell, John Butcher, Phil Minton, Sabu Toyozumi.

Jared Xu

Jared is still in high scholl, but is already crazy about noise music performance.


Chung-Kun WANG

Other musicians/bands

These musicians/bands often mentioned.
落差草原 https://prairiewwww.bandcamp.com/
Skip Skip Ben Ben, anyone’s there https://skipskipbenben.bandcamp.com/
天語樂軒 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0Ai3W3AJXE

Young people’s open approaches to traditional music

For me, it is very interesting how these young musicians are trying a more stylistically open approach to traditonal music.

Covered tunes of Studio Ghibli works by Hayao Miyazaki.

This girl plays music of Super Mario Bros, even sound effects.

Art and music places and events in Taipei

Revolver https://www.facebook.com/revolver.taipei 
Suppho http://www.sappholive.com/
月見君想, Moon romantic stuido http://www.moonromantic.tw/
失聲祭 Lacking Sound Fest.
Long running art event in Taipei. You can find almost all the artists from Taiwan on their own youtube channel.

先行一車 https://www.facebook.com/pages/%E5%85%88%E8%A1%8C%E4%B8%80%E8%BB%8A/1492309744352039?fref=ts
Music store in Taipei sometimes holds music events.

Mangasick https://www.facebook.com/Mangasick/?fref=ts
A place for manga freaks.

濁水溪公社 幹恁娘老激掰!(強姦殺人)330反服貿大遊行 群賢樓舞台
Very very open mic in Taipei? *I don’t know about the detail

Traditonal music and arts in Taipei

Try these places if you wanna see Traditonal music and arts in Taipei.

大稻埕戲苑 https://www.facebook.com/dadaochen2011/
龍山寺 http://www.lungshan.org.tw/
琴園藝文空間 https://www.facebook.com/chinyuancrew?fref=ts
和鳴南樂社(南管) at 台北大稻埕法主公廟 https://www.facebook.com/FaChuKungTemple/

臺北木偶劇團 Taipei Puppet Theater http://www.taipei-puppet.com/, https://www.facebook.com/Taipei.Puppet
臺北戲棚 http://www.taipeieye.com/en/
江之翠劇場 https://www.facebook.com/gangatsui
心心南管樂坊 XinXin Nanguan Ensemble https://www.facebook.com/NanguanXinXin/timeline

Art and music places in Hsinchu City

江山藝改所(新竹) https://www.facebook.com/JSYGS/
Not in Taipei, but in Hsinchu City, very cool art space and cafe with indie CDs, books, posters.

Bands, musicians, artists in Taichung(台中)

眼球殺手 Eyeball Killer

Rock and roll band

龍頭, Tapdragon

Grunge taste rock band from Taichung.

邱元男, Qiu yuan nan

Taichung based guitarist.

東海土著, Immanuel

Taichung based musician who once resided in New Zealand.

小劉, Xiao Liu

Taichung based avant garde sax player.

You can see session video of these guys and me, Sept 2015.

Art and music places in Taichung(台中)

自由人藝術公寓 Freedom Men Art Apartments https://www.facebook.com/FreedomMenArt/
陸地 lùdì https://www.facebook.com/ludi.tw/
National Taiwan museum of fine arts. 国立台湾美術館 http://www.ntmofa.gov.tw/

Bands, musicians, artists in Kaohsiung(高雄)

劉芳一, Fangyi Liu

A very unique musician from Kaohsiung; from pops to freaky improvisation.

Recorded work at bath room

卡五盎, Car5on

Car5on is a solo project by a Kaohsiung based guitarist with many effect pedals making drone, ambient, texture, experimental sound.

Shine Huang

Art and music places in Kaohsiung(高雄)

路人咖啡Ruh Cafe https://www.facebook.com/ruhcafe/
三餘書店 TaKaoBooks https://www.facebook.com/takaobooks214

Bands, musicians, artists in Tainan(台南)

謝奉珍, Hsieh Feng Chen aka Pineapple Hsieh

Hsieh Feng Chen is a Tainan based artist who uses laptop, multi devices, effect pedals and also maintains some warmth against her experimental settings.

https://pinh.bandcamp.com/ This is her work from 2010.

骯髒先生, Mr.Dirty

Rock band from Tainan.

Yam’s Duo

Duo by guitar and percussion players with warm and nostalgic sound approach.

Art and music places in Tainan(台南)

正十八 +18 Space https://www.facebook.com/co.space.18/?fref=ts
浮遊咖啡 https://www.facebook.com/pages/%E6%B5%AE%E9%81%8A%E5%92%96%E5%95%A1/809617352390499?fref=ts
National museum of Taiwan literature. 國立台灣文學館-首頁 http://www.nmtl.gov.tw/
You can hear/see many CDs and DVDs of traditonal heritage arts and music. Tourist must bring their passport.

Places for Taiwan’s Indigenous(aboriginal) culture

You can find these museum and places from Taipei to Tainan, especially 1 and 2 are recommended to visit.

1. 凱達格蘭文化館(北投温泉, north of Taipei) http://www.ketagalan.gov.taipei/
2. 順益台灣原住民博物館(near to National palace museum) http://www.museum.org.tw/
3. 尖石鄉原住民文化館(moutain area from New Taipei city) https://www.facebook.com/tayal.jianshih/
4. 九族文化村(日月潭, Taichung area) http://www.nine.com.tw/
5. 原住民族文化園區(三地門, Tainan area), Indigenous peoples cultural development center http://www.tacp.gov.tw/
Wind Music
http://www.windmusic.com.tw/en/ record label for pops arranged Indigenous musicians.

Beatbox movement from Taiwan young people

TWBEATBOX.com facebook
Taiwan Beat Box Battle

Somehow, beatbox is a real movement for Taiwan young people.

Why don’t you try if you wanna train your beatbox skill.

Musician’s community and labels in Taiwan

Kandala Records

Kandala Records | kandalarecords http://kandalarecords.tumblr.com/
Music | Kandala Records https://kandalarecords.bandcamp.com/
Kandala Records (K社) https://www.facebook.com/groups/215367615804/
Kandala Records – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyDM-tumj_OoEod8X8SrgDA
Compilation album from Kandala Records named Taiwan Free Sound.

牛角, a youtube channel

you can find tons of videos of Taiwan indie musicans and artists.

耳蝸 Cochlea


Other places for art and music

Taipei Artist Village and Treasure Hill Artist Village http://www.artistvillage.org/?lang=en
台東 都蘭「好的‧窩」 https://www.facebook.com/goodnest959/
台南 能盛興工廠 https://www.facebook.com/ffffactory

Other resources about Taiwan indie music scene

-Otomo Yoshide’s choice *only in Japanese

-Ensembles Asia
Not only Taiwan, this website trying to collect information of musicians and artists from Asia.

この記事の日本語版もありまして http://www.junichi-usui.com/articles/2016/05/05/taiwan-indie-arts-music/ でございます

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