The Sound……The Eternal #3: Xu Jared/Alica LICA & Taiwan’s Experimental Art/Music Culture

The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has.

Confucius

This post is special to me. I love my Asian people and my Asian cultures all over the world. The environment of places like Taiwan has been an intriguing enigma to engross my attention. First, let me introduce you all to two special Taiwanese experimental artist: 

Xu Jared a.k.a. Berserk (Noisecore/Experimental Music) 

Chieh Han a.k.a. Alicia Han a.k.a. LICA (Ambient/Experimental Music) 

Xu Jared (Berserk) is “No-Input Pedal” experimental noise artist who named his project Berserk. He is known to curate outdoor experimental noise or “No-Punk” events known as “Outer Pulsation.” I first got wind of him from a clip on instagram. He was performing in a subway station in Taiwan. It was a guerilla style performance known as “noise bomb!” Watch in the clip below.

Noise bombs are when experimental artist perform noise liberately in a public environment. I follow him on instagram and I have to say he has a real knowledge for the craft of “No-Input” pedal noise. A “No-Input Pedal” artist uses pedals to create feedback loops of distorted, discordant sounds forming abrasive-ear splitting noise collages.

LICA perfoming at 2020 Jogja Noise Bomb Festival

Then, there is Chieh Han a.k.a LICA a.k.a.  Alica Lica. She is a more toned down artsy version of the two. She performs a wide range of experimental music from the Ambient/Drone/Noise/Electronia genres. She has created an experimental photography page on Instagram (@nowhere_non) & Facebook (NOnexistent) that showcases her photographic story of the Taiwanese music and art culture.

NOnexistent has stated the following as it’s mission statement in Facebook since forming in May 2019: “Using filmcamera (iPhone) as a sampling tools. The author’s subjective consciousness combined with life experience produces these words, photos and sounds. Low Quality Output.” 

In other words, it’s a project using iPhone, as the principal camera, to capture photos of Taiwan’s underground music and art culture. This is a great example of how a experimental photographer creates. This is an fresh and new form of photography I currently have an interest in and practice when I have time and the correct sources.

In the video below, Alica LICA recently performed a 17-minute experimental noise set from a bathroom for Gerpfast’s Online Noise Festival just a few weeks ago. I, also, remembered she was one of the artist who performed in the 2020 Jogja Noise Bomb down in Indonesia earlier this year.

Xu Jared and Alica LICA are slwoly developing a solid base in the arts and music community through an age old format. I love the fact these artist, regardless of lucrative popularity, continue to perform and produce in a culture landscape mild political turmoil with mainland China. Even though, these two people may view this as “youthful exuberance” little do they know this is becoming a staple for the present and future generations to come.

The art and music culture of Taipei in Taiwan has links to other southeast and northeast asian cultures. I believe the potential for this culture and its infrastructure in its simplicity to exist as a means continue the history of Taiwanese underground art and music tradition.

Before Xu Jared & LICA, back in mid-2000, I have known about a filmmaker like Au Sow YeeYee was born and grew up in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), she now lives and work in Taipei (Taiwan) – and photographer See Yee Wen a photographer from Malaysia an associate of Au Sow Yee whoo has worked on projects in Taipei.

Au Sow Yee had a DVD of her experimental video/sound that I bought. I loved every minute of it. I thought total noisecore like Yamataki Eye or Masonna. Little did we both acknowledge, she was a little before her time. However, Wong Kar Wai and Hou Hsiao Hsien during the 2000’s were the leading filmmakers directing classics like “In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar Wai)/ “Millenium Mambo (Hou Hsiao Hsien)” as well, modernizing the cinema culture with Australian Christopher Doyle’s eye-dropping cinematography. I lost Au Sow Yee DVD’s back in 2012 when I moved from Southern California to Texas, a move I despise to this day. No regrets.

Jazz Szu-Ying Chen
Jazz Szu’s artwork on Torn Relics cassette

Finally, I have one more person to mention who is a current favorite of mine: Jazzy Szu-Ying Chen. She has done numerous artworks that are featured in museums yearly, written scholarly articles (which, I plan to read later on), she has been on a Taipei television program and has a residency at New Taipei City’s Banqiao 435 Art District. Her dark grotesque style has gained popularity in Asia and UK/EU. Plus, her art style is very popular amongst the underground experimental music and extreme metal music culture; too add, her artwork was featured in collaboration with Torn Relics an experimental electronica duo from the UK. (Spotify player below features some of their songs…blazers and bangers).

To conclude, this inscribed journey of the Taiwanese art and music community led me to more than two experimental artist, whom I believe are leading the way for future generations. As the other three other artist have established scholarly paths. Thus, a Neo-Confucian Filal Piety in the art and music community of Taipei.

My adoration of Taiwan is their quiet strength and coyish beauty. If, and when, I visit Taipei in the near future one or more of these people will be featured in a series of vlogs from Taiwan, southeast or all of Asia for that matter.

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

Confucius

Xu Jared and Alica LICA naturally embrace that Confucian maxim like many experimental artist. Music is a vehicle that guides on unknown parallels of the mind and the spirit. Wherever its performed; whatever you interpret it to be; it always knows how to break barriers and touch souls……….LIGHT OR DARK.

Au Sow Yee in action
See Yee Wen in the field
Berserk’s No Input Pedal/Mixer set up

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