Futuristic Architectural Wonderland: eel Festival Review of Homegrown Talents


In the festival landscape, there is a prevailing sentiment that the audience tends to hold higher expectations for international artists, considering them superior to our homegrown talents. However, eel Festival successfully subverts this paradigm, creating an environment where discerning between local and international excellence becomes challenging.

With a phenomenal lineup of Amnesia Scanner & Freeka Tet, Tzusing, Meuko! Meuko!Coucou Chloe, Kode 9, Ben UFO, Abyss X ft. Lujiachi, Async Figure, and Lorenzo Senni, it was an incredible convergence of musical forces that Taiwan was deserving of and has never witnessed in a single setting.  Each act brought its distinctive sound world to the stage that was independent of one another but didn’t seem like a random hodgepodge of disconnected sounds.  It was a 500x magnified version of what resident DJs at Final Club would spin in their sets and showcased the eclectic progressive sound culture the club is cultivating.

Amnesia Scanner & Freeka Tet


Described by the event organizers as a “futuristic architectural wonderland”, both event collective Pure G and club Final curated this event to bring together music creators, DJs, and installation artists to shape a show that was both “peculiar and distinctive”.  Though finding a lineup of this caliber should come as no surprise since Pure G has been a continuous driving force behind Final’s events, hosting a slew of the world’s leading international producers and DJs including Osheyack, Incessent, Doon Kanda, Brodinski, CCL, M.E.S.H, ¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$U and many more.  What’s truly remarkable is the fervent following that experimental electronic music has developed in Taiwan, and Final has played a pivotal role in nurturing this interest. 

A notable aspect of the festival's allure rested in its emphasis on live music— a lesser common inclination within the local electronic music scene. The rarity of witnessing live electronic performances stems from the inherent challenges they pose; navigating the intricate terrain of live production demands a level of skill and dedication often overshadowed by the more accessible path of DJing pre-existing music. 

Against the backdrop of major festivals like Berlin Atonal (DE), CTM Festival (DE), and Mutek (JP) ascending as front-runners for cutting-edge sounds, eel puts forward the prospect of Taiwan evolving into a vibrant cultural epicenter for electronic music. The hope lingers that this thriving scene continues its dynamic evolution.

Kode 9


Nestled in the newly commercialized Dapinglin district, adjacent to Carrefour and Eslite Bookstore across the street, the eel festival presented a stark contrast to its surroundings.  While families leisurely shopped and dined at the food court, the pack of Final punters and cyber ravers characterized by their multiple piercings, frosted tips, and a blend of techwear, gorpcore, and mall-goth attire passed through a metaphorical wormhole, entering a reality-bending sphere where digital information took on a tangible form, and reality dissolved into something programmable. In essence, it felt like traversing into an alternate space offering a glimpse behind the matrix.

The Dome Theatre, typically reserved for launch events, corporate banquets, and weddings, had yet to witness the pulsating energy of a live music festival. Upon entrance, one could understand why.  The circular interior with a distinctive halo-like lighting arrangement above the dance floor, casting blood-red lights was fitting for this dystopic soundscape.  With a capacity to accommodate around 1000 audience members, the space boasted a second floor providing a vantage point for attendees to observe the show from above.

The stage was revealed as a cryptic shipwreck, its bow and stern diverging on either side, with scattered skeletal remains surrounding the performers.  Crafted by Ariana Schindler, known for collaborations with Coucou Chloe, Eartheater, and Lil Xan the setup was a testament to her creative prowess.  A large visual display behind the stage became the focal point where the immersive audio-visual projections of Meuko Meuko and Amnesia Scanner illuminated the space.

eel Festival

Meuko! Meuko! & NONEYE

Upon entering the theatre, a subtle red glow enveloped the space, casting a dim light that resonated with the sampled field recordings of temple processions – a prelude to the mesmerizing performance of Meuko! Meuko! The festival commenced with the grandeur of "Invisible General," a live audiovisual work of art collaboratively crafted by Meuko! Meuko! and audio-visual artist NONEYE. This experiential journey plunged the audience into the post-apocalyptic landscape of Taiwan, where remnants of traditional artifacts emerged from toxic waters as we delved deeper into their realm.

Amidst the mangled Beiguan samples and noise-inspired beats, the narrative unfolded, leading us to a multi-headed beast with a flesh-like body and elongated mechanical necks, extending to streamlined robotic faces. Despite its menacing appearance, the underlying concept seeks to transform the sorrow and resentment of the isolated island into visibility.  Towards the end of her set, the visuals gave way to interpretive dancers that spawned from the stage, merging flesh and bone with the embrace of the digital atmosphere.  

This amalgamation of modern technology with culturally relevant visualizations highlighted the intricate layers of Invisible General; considered the second chapter of Meuko's "Ghost Island" trilogy. The duo had toured this art piece extensively throughout Europe and at major festivals, including Lev Festival, Nuits Sonores, Fiber Festival, and Roskilde Festival.

Meuko! Meuko!'s music encapsulates her musical history and her involvement in various niches of the scene, from playing in indie punk bands to playing experimental music and her passion for traditional music. Her sound identity, refined through a repeated process of production and re-evaluation, stands out not only in Taiwan but also on the international stage.

Meuko! Meuko!'s dancers

Abyss X & Lujiachi

In many festivals, international artists often deliver standard performances, treating the event as just another stop on their world tour. However, the festival took a unique approach by curating a special collaborative set, where multidisciplinary artist ABYSS X was paired with Lujiachi on guitars for not only one song but the entire set.

Prior to their performance, the duo met up a day in advance for an extensive rehearsal session. The result was a performance that stood out in its departure from the expected beats and fast rhythm-driven music. Instead, Abyss X's expansive vocal range harmonized elegantly with Lujiachi's brooding, Metallica-like riffs, creating a nostalgic homage to the '90s. The ambiance was enriched with reverb and chorus-saturated tones, complemented by sweeping guitar solos and smoke machines.

Despite his remarkable skills as a producer, witnessing Lujiachi return to the guitar was a delightful experience. Hailing from the renowned Taiwanese stoner band Sleaze and the drone/doom duo Scattered Purgatory, Jiachi boasts extensive experience across diverse music genres. His stage presence reflects that of a seasoned performer with adequate confidence to magnetize a crowd. 

Abyss X & Lujiachi

Async Figure

Dark and cinematic, characterized by synth-heavy melodies and rapid arpeggiated patterns, their beats cover a spectrum that includes elements of trap, techno, and trance, offering a dynamic journey within their set. The music delivers an exhilarating head rush, with pulsating rhythms that can be appreciated both sober and inebriated.

Despite being active for over five years, the UK duo found themselves grappling with a lack of notable acclaim within the expansive realm of emerging global music producers. Yet, a promising turn of events appears imminent as they secure considerable backing from the esteemed Sea Cucumber label, curated by Tzusing,  This newfound support holds the potential to thrust the duo into the limelight in the near future.

Async Figure


Following the vibrant and playful liquid DnB and footwork set by the legendary Kode 9, Tzusing brought the vibe of the dome back into the shadowy confines of post-war Berlin’s deserted factories.  Imposing industrial techno and EBM beats dominated the set, diverging starkly from the vivid tonal sounds of Lorenzo Senni.  Sonically his set offered minimal melody, relying instead on relentless percussion and oscillating atonal samples.

The beats reverberated with enormity, exploiting the spacious gaps between pounding bass and mid-to-high percussion, maintaining rhythmic inertia. Evolving through the set, Tzusing introduced more of his recent sonic explorations, incorporating Gqom, Trap, and Tribal-influenced beats. Between the diverse elements, the set remained remarkably cohesive; a reflection of Tzusing's distinct sonic identity manifested through the meticulous selection of tones and textures.

It goes without saying that Tzusing is the force behind elevating Taiwan's presence on the electronic music map. His portfolio includes releases on prominent labels such as Pan, L.I.E.S, and Bedouin.