Organik Festival 2019: Five key performances

  • The exceptional Taiwanese event turns eight with stellar sets from Mama Snake, Diskonnected and Yoshi Nori.
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  • Back for its eighth edition, Organik proved why it should be considered among the best parties on the planet. The festival, which takes place in Taiwan's Hualien County, has it all. A crowd built on a tight-knit local underground community and supplemented by an international contingent of party people and industry heads. A world-class soundsystem—Funktion-One's Evo 7 loudspeakers and F124 sub—tuned to perfection. The absolutely breath-taking setting of Huting's black sand beach and mountainous backdrop. And, of course, carefully curated programming. These factors, plus the constantly convivial atmosphere, meant that even the sporadic rain couldn't dampen Organik's spirit. Here are five key performances from across the weekend.
    Yoshi Nori It was clear from the outset that Organik has built a real community around itself, with dancers coming back year after year. This was particularly noticeable when the Taipei veteran Yoshi Nori hit the decks on Friday evening. He moved Blue Star, the small club-like room geared towards local DJs, into full swing as friends from previous editions reconnected and shared drinks while shuffling around the dance floor. Heady, bassy cuts like Split Secs' "Off The Ground" filled the room before eventually giving way to more jubilant sounds like Starlight's "Keep On Moving."
    Diskonnected After a hypnotic live set from Toulouse Low Trax at the main stage on Saturday afternoon, Diskonnected was tasked with wiping away the remaining cobwebs from the first night. The Smoke Machine resident, who also programmed the main stage, did so with an assured elegance, working his way through spacey, stripped-back rollers that soundtracked some of the first glimmers of sunshine at the festival. Later, cuts like Code 6's "Quad I" and Genius Of Time's "Houston We Have a Problem" received applause from the crowd, moving the energy into a higher gear. At this point, one group of particular hyped-up friends skipped across the dance floor, vogueing in unison.
    Tarawangsawelas & Rabih Beaini Rabih Beaini seems to spend increasing amounts of time exploring local sounds in East and South East Asia. This latest pairing saw him combine his analogue sound with Tarawangsawelas, a duo from Bandung in Indonesia devoted to tarawangsa, a sacred minimalist style always performed using two instruments: the tarawangsa, a two-stringed violin, and the jentreng, a seven-stringed zither. The hour-long performance was hypnotic, mesmerising the small crowd that gathered close to the stage. Their styles struck a nice sonic balance. Beaini would dominate with his harsh analogue noise, before giving way to Tarawangsawelas, who shifted the mood into a meditative, trance-like bliss. There's always the danger that cross-cultural performances will end up gimmicky or over-conceptualized, but by focusing on the hypnotic aspects of the trio's differing sounds, they were able to find a careful synergy.
    Mama Snake Given a three-hour slot during the festival's peak on Saturday night, Mama Snake seemed more than up for the challenge. She rattled through slithering techno and plenty of trance, causing the dance floor to explode much like the fireworks being set off overhead. Melodic groovers (Luxor's "Superstitious (Nursery Mix)") and ravey bangers (Yves Deruyter's "Back To Earth") made up most of the set. From a balcony above and behind the DJ booth, I watched the floor pulsating, lit up by red lighting and shrouded in billowing smoke. As the sun rose, Mama Snake closed with Olive's "You're Not Alone." For a moment, I had to remind myself I was in Taiwan and not Ibiza.
    Dorisburg Around 45 minutes into his performance on Sunday evening, Dorisburg was faced with the heaviest downpour of the festival. Before it hit, he had been playing trippy and percussive, but as soon as the heavens opened, the first four-to-the-floor kick drum rattled through the system as if on cue. Although many ran for shelter, the effect on those who stayed was electrifying. A group of girls skipped wildly around in a circle, while a man dug a small hole in the centre of the dance floor, filling it with rainwater he sourced by creating channels from nearby puddles. As the energy reached fever-pitch, Dorisburg dropped Oni Ayhun's "OAR003-B," sending the dance floor crazy. This scene, set against the mountainous beach backdrop, summed up the magic of Organik.
    Photo credit / Kazuhiko Kimishita - Lead, Yoshi Nori, Diskonnected, Tarangsawelas & Rabih Beaini, Waves, Valentino Mora, Ben UFO Manbo Key, Chien Wen Lin @ MW Studio - Dorisburg Erin Keeffe - All others