Runzelstirn and Gurglestock



Stuhlgangblockade (1990)

1. A [24:14]

2. B [24:22]

Original material from Stuhlgangblockade (SH R1) by Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck sent to various contributors who then processed it and sent it back. After that Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck selected and combined the material.

Comes in a white sleeve with a plastic bowl with a screw inside on the front cover. Includes a 16-page A5 booklet explaining the process of composition. Pressed in an edition of 350 copies.

Contributers included AMK , Guhl , Architects Office , Audiosyncracy , Bräker , C.Schulz , Drängende Hebelkraft , Due Process , G*Park , The Gfreeze , Grandbrother , The Haters , Hirsch Quadrat , Illusion Of Safety , Inzekt , John Wiggins , Jörg Thomasius , Kapotte Muziek , Lieutenant Caramel , Maeror Tri , Merzbow , New Carrollton , Möslang , Not ½ , PGR , Renkel Und Beins , Sudden Infant , Vehikel + Gefäss (+ Ventilator) , Vehikel + Gefäss , and Factor X .


Bei Abwesenheit Jeglicher Genussempfindungen (1989)

1. Bei Abwesenheit Jeglicher Genussempfindungen

One side is music with a sandpaper label. The other side has sandpaper covering the playing area of the record.
Packaged in 3/4 LP jacket with band running vertically.
Includes folio with 7 A4 pages of artwork and text.
Limited edition of 200 copies.
No digital manipulation.


Rudolf Eb.er squarely situates Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock under the aegis of actionism. Their performances are not concerts but rather 'psycho-physical tests and training', where both the testing and the training are directed toward the performer as much as the audience. The rationale is not shock and confrontation but rather discipline and concentration, yoked to an unswerving will to perplex.

Eb.er and accomplice Dave Phillips slam their faces at accelerating pace into contact-miked plates of spaghetti. Eb.er pounds and gurgles at a piano pausing only to discharge a shotgun which the audience is relieved to learn is loaded with blanks. A woman with a tube inserted into her anus screams in misery as Eb.er blows into it to the strains of an elegiac string accompaniment. Eb.er struggles arduously to extract sounds from contact-miked fish lying dead upon a table. Three Japanese women are filmed imbibing colour-coded liquids which they then vomit into bowls in orchestrated sequence. Or less ostentatiously, but more perplexing still, Eb.er perches upon a stool sporting a woman's wig and chewing anxiously on an electric cable while a latex-masked Joke Lanz stands guard menac- ingly beside him, balancing what seems to be an antique wireless on his shoulder while the sound of buzzing flies issues around them.

These experiments in contrived absurdity, of brief duration but invariably poised at the tipping point between comedic entertainment and intolerable provocation, have earned Eb.er the opprobrium of 'serious' experimental musicians, who are wont to dismiss them as sensation-mongering stunts. But the extraordinary lengths to which Eb.er is prepared to go in conceiving and executing these 'stunts', not to mention the inordinate difficulties he often generates for himself in doing so, immediately contradict the accusation of facileness.

What is being ridiculed here is the facile mysticism of those who would sanctify musical experience - more specifically, the experience of listening to 'experimental music', whether composed or improvised - as a pure end in itself: this is the specious mystique of aesthetic experience as ethico-political edification. Far from being a mere pretext, the auditory component of these actions is as important as their visual aspect and provides the raw material for R&G recordings. These are meticulously edited exercises in discontinuous variation which are constantly re-cycled for further performances.

As with Shave, R&G's music is characterized by intricately structured sequences of discrete sonic events strung together in diverging series: sighs, gasps, burps, groans, retchings, barks, growls; dogs, roosters, accordions, yodels, strings, pianos, brass; shouts, roars, thuds, shrieks, and sawings; each series punctuated by precisely defined intervals of silence, which are in turn periodically shattered by crescendos of processed wails that morph into choruses of mournful ululation. The sound of gagging is followed by the sound of bludgeoned flesh and cracking bone; gentle acoustic rustlings are cross-stitched with violent blasts of synthesised blare. The perpetual oscillation between cartoon mischief and psychotic malevolence is at once comic and uncanny. Eb.er describes his editing procedure thus:

In Switzerland I used open reels and scalpels, almost surgical. Cutting, cutting, cutting, sewing back. I dig a hole and stay in there with all those blades, tapes, and scissors. I didn't want to mix things up, but to put the knife into the sound of what I did and recorded, inside and outside. What you hear on R&G is real. The action and its body. I just cut the body parts, sew them wrong and cut again - in that timing, 15 years of R&G sounds get divided and divided, grow and grow. I grow my sounds 'biologically', like dividing cells. Cut and let grow.

This surgical metastasis finds an echo in Eb.er's paintings: oneiric depictions of psychic abjection in which organic and inorganic forms are subjected to cancerous metamorphoses. A transsexual Mickey Mouse sporting disfigured genitalia sprawls in pornographic abandon. A Japanese schoolgirl with a fissured head and single prominent nipple gapes blankly while a diseased landscape yawns through the hole in her face. Some of these an-organic anomalies are redolent of the sexual dysmorphias drawn by Hans Bellmer, but Eb.er's paintings are executed with a technical proficiency worthy of artists like Nigel Cooke. Are these contrived and consequently inauthentic tokens of derangement? Or genuinely psychotic but therefore stereotypical symptoms?

Over-familiarity has rendered the iconography of Viennese actionism banal: blood, gore, and sexual transgression are now tawdry staples of entertainment. Ironically, even art brut looks formulaic to us now. But Eb.er's judicious leavening of the freakish with the cartoonish and his disquieting transpositions of psychic distress into infantile slapstick betray a suspicion of stereotype and a lucidity about the inelim- inable complicity between wilfulness and compulsion, perversity and pathology. The embrace of such ambiguity is the voluntary risk undertaken by a man acutely aware of the paradoxes attendant upon his own mot d'ordre: 'art not crime'. In this regard, Eb.er's approach is the symptom of a tactical rather than psychiatric dilemma: How to produce art that confronts without sham; art that is unequivocal in its refusal to placate or appease? 'We do not care about any behaviours, standards or civilisation. I don't want new ones. Just none. Bye bye.' Such an exemplary refusal is as likely to be chastised for its irresponsibility as to be patronized for its aberrant, pathological character. It abjures moral condemnations of social psychosis as well as pathetic revendications of victimhood. But perhaps a psychotic who is lucid about the degree to which his estrangement is socially manufactured is a more dangerous political animal than any engaged artist or authentic lunatic?
-Ray Brassier, excerpted from Genre is Obsolete in Noise and Capitalism



UbuWeb Sound | UbuWeb

PennSound | CENTRO | EPC | WFMU