Rudolf Eb.er “It’s the movie of an anthill living in the womb of Angelina Jolie.”

Rudolf Eb.er is the master of his own reality, shattering the limitations imposed on the body by time and space. Operating under his own name as well as the appellation Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck, he employs “psycho­physical” exercise and “de/composition” in order to delineate the surreal innards of the psychological, material, and mythical realms. Through the manipulation of field recordings of various sonic textures (natural and man­made) and his installations and performances, Eb.er has constructed a grotesquely vivid universe governed by his aesthetic and metaphysical chaos.

Eb.er is a constituent of the Schimpfluch­Gruppe in the company of Dave Phillips, Joke Lanz, and Daniel Löwenbrück (owner of the Tochnit­Aleph imprint on which R&G has released). The group collectively channels a viscerally aktionist ethos, sharing sonic and visual values. The intent of liberating the psyche through expansion of the senses takes place across different media, including process-­based performances, audio collages, writings, and visual art.

Brainnectar is Eb.er’s most recent foray into the exploration of the neurosensory, and he describes it as smelling “like well­-developed decay.” The album is thematically concerned, including the sonic properties of occultist gestures and the natural environment, and prominently features the vocal terror of Junko Hiroshige. Picking up where Andy Ortmann’s 2009 conversation with Eb.er left off, he speaks in Osaka, Japan, about 4200 Hz sine tones, the ice bucket challenge, and the act of vomiting in an arena.


Your most recent release is titled Brainnectar. What are the title’s origins and their thematic role in the work?

Brainnectar collects works developed to trigger our psycho­physical energy, and is resulting from my ongoing research of the psychic body and the de­occultation of techniques to work with it. Beginning with the tape recorder and tape manipulations as instrument of choice, my works was always related to the body and the psyche. With ritualized abreaction and catharsis came the combination of experimental audio­art and aktionism. I developed the “psycho­physical tests and trainings.” Very physical performances, with therapeutic background. A more recent row of unusual happenings made me look into kundalini yoga and tantra methods, techniques and ideas that I found bafflingly similar to my own research. Psycho­physical energy, or inner heat, is, for example, ­raised from the perineum up into the brain. This consciousness-expanding and -illuminating technique triggers sensations described as “dripping nectar.” Brainnectar points onto these techniques and the track titles derive from related techniques, themes, and sounds. The list of sounds used can be roughly divided into three groups. One would be field recordings of water, fire, wind etc., of flies, cicadas or other animal swarms, or of the sound of technical installations that I also record in the field, such as power­transformators. Colored noise from the field. Living at the border of Japanese metropole and country these are sounds I can well relate to. On my doorstep shinto rituals take place to expel evil spirits, which brings me to the next group of sounds: archaic occult music and instruments used for the induction of trance states in shamanism. The big drum, the rattle, flutes. Or the clacking of wooden sticks. And finally the group of isochronic tones and binaural beats. The list reveals that it involves largely sounds causing direct effects onto the psyche. Often combined with vocals, at times with vocalizations by Junko Hiroshige from Hijokaidan.

What does Brainnectar smell and feel like to the touch?

With the track “Yellow Smell Of Death,” where I put flutes below Junko, there is a sweet scent of something burned, with an odor of cat’s urine. At “Concentrating All Internal Sounds At The Top Of The Brain” a very biting stench of boiling batterie­acid comes up. Often, Brainnectar smells of well­developed decay and feels like wet earth to the touch. Like good soil. In the process of de/composition I did focus on my body­reaction to the sounds. There is tactile trickle on the forehead, or just below the top of the skull. Or in the throat or other parts of the body. Sometimes the trickling swells into a rising of heat, followed by the dripping of nectar from the top of the brain. Or it is a sliding or slipping into another reality. Not all listeners will experience the same effects to the same extend. It is not made for the sensation but to become aware of the psychic body and to work with it. This music has the function to expand awareness, or at least the function to make aware that there is something to expand.

The “asstrumpet” was in this case Kaori. Her vocals [were] extreme intense while having a tube anal inserted, which I tried to play. We performed with a stringquintett on our side.

What are the three most powerful images you have recently visually ingested?

My 2003 “Vomitplay For 3 Girls,” also known as “Gero Orchestra,” reached sort of cult status in Tokyo and elsewhere. So I was pushed to play it again. This time it took place in a sold-out wrestling arena in central Tokyo, with the audience 360 degree ‘round the high, wrestling-ring stage. Having the three girls vomit into three directions… was a powerful triptych. In good light. Very strong in color and sound.

Hypothetically, what is the most undesirable situation you could possibly think of?

Stuck in an elevator with a hairstylist.

What are the first and last records you have purchased to date?

The first was “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush. I was a little boy. Her voice grabbed me. Still does. Latest is Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar’s “Raga Chandrakauns.” A dhrupad. Hindustani singing. Very deep stuff.

Of a field in front of a levitating mountain. Or of a huge hole of unknown depth. Or of a large river of black caviar.

Is there a sensory process or methodology in determining titles for your works?

I used often word games that could describe backgrounds of the work. Often in German. Or I described methods, as with the early Bei Abwesenheit Jeglicher GenussempfindungenComposition For Temperature was made on request for a project loosely related to the works of Joseph Beuys. It never came out because the finished master got carefree altered in the production process. A Bandcamp download is made available. Beuys works have often to do with preservation and transportation of heat, often through fat, felt and copper. It’s not the same heat as in my work, but a good reason to realize a composition for temperature. Psychopompos also already points into the direction of the following Brainnectar. A psychopomp is a creature or shaman that guides you into death. In opposite to the sharp cut­ups of silence and bundled slices of psychotic attacks known from Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck, this album has six long, rather hypnotic tracks. Early works for psycho­active acoustics.

What is your favorite reality television show, past or present?

I don’t watch television. Except maybe for a sumo­tournament with grand champion Hakuho. But definitely never ever reality television shows. Isn’t it made for complete brain damage?

If you were to conceptualize a communal­-style reality television show, what would it entail?

Celebs had to split and crack open their skull, and when they can prove there was brain inside they win an ice bucket.

Different forms of animalia are recurring elements of your performance. It is rumored that you cooked a kangaroo. How do you feel about fast food?

If you’re in a hurry to get old, fat, and senile, go for fast food. Are people blind? Fast-food customers look just like corpses drifting since days in the water. Gray, swollen blobs. And [they] stink even worse.

It took place in a sold-out wrestling arena in central Tokyo, with the audience 360 degree ‘round the high, wrestling-ring stage. Having the three girls vomit into three directions… was a powerful triptych. In good light. Very strong in color and sound.

How did you unite with co­conspirators Dave Phillips and Joke Lanz? When and how was it apparent that you existed on the same plane of reality and were sympatico in your performative manifesto?

In 1989 I got an unexpected phone call from a guy I knew only from [a]far, from seeing his face at some events. A mutual friend did advise him to call me up. He said he could take over a monthly hardcore punk broadcast at a local radio station in Zürich, but he is searching for something complete different, for weird new sounds. I agreed to help him with that,­ and so I met Joke. We came together and blew things up right away. Soon we did expand our activities, and begun our aktionism. Dave Phillips found [us] in the mid 90s…. My first close collaboration with him took place in Taiwan, 1996. Our latest took place in Tokyo and got released on pro­duplicated cassette, titled “Nigredo.”

Name a few of your recent objects of choice used as sonic source material and in performances.

Recently I had a concert with Kubikukuri Takuzou, an old Japanese man who comes up on stage, stands on a chair, put his neck into the gallows, and hangs himself. There in the front. Like a corpse swinging softly in the moldy air. With the sound of the rope working on the roof beam and flies in a wooden shelter. The signal of an empty TV channel from somewhere. He is hanging himself in his backyard on a daily basis since about 20 years.

In your opinion, what is the most infuriating global event of the 21st century?

That particle collider. They found the Higgs Boson but failed to create the black hole that had swallowed the entire globe.

How did your collaborations with Junko Hiroshige transpire, and what role did she play in Brainnectar?

We [have] know[n] each other since two decades, but it was at the “Extreme Rituals: ­A Schimpfluch Carnival” in Bristol UK, 2012, that we worked together the first time. It was not our idea, but a lucky suggestion to put us as a duo on stage for one performance. We continue to work together. Most time Junko was heard as part of one wall of noise. I am very glad to position her… in different context and proportions. With profound simplicity.

Describe the notable objects that occupy your living space.

A big wooden box sits on the ground, next to the stairs leading up to the basement. I did put it there.

There’s a cataclysmic nature to your performance. What has been the most Intense and/or disturbing mass reaction you’ve elicited from an audience?

There was quite often intense and disturbing mass reaction. But I did like laughter. When the situation becomes so weird and frightening that the people help themselves with a confused laugher. The newer performances have a less confrontational or provocative approach, and become therefore more of an energy exchange. Or better said, the audience follows or participates my rising of psycho­physical energy, inner heat, or frequency. It is even more physical now, but rather internal than external.

This music has the function to expand awareness, or at least the function to make aware that there is something to expand.

Would you prefer to exist in a utopian or dystopian scenario?

Utopian of course. Dystopia is where we are in.

What films have shaped your life and work?

Those of Luis Buñuel. I always was into horror movies. But the real thing was Luis Buñuel. And always Klaus Kinski, of course. Later, I already did my works, I found David Lynch and the great Alejandro Jodorowsky. El Topo and Holy Mountain are true masterpieces. Films big enough to make it to the theater these days are from Lars von Trier, Antichrist and Melancholia.

There are various mediums through which interdisciplinary work is documented. How do you visualize and determine through which medium your work is proliferated?

Often when I’m not yet sure what it is about, I take pictures… I will see when the time has come, if it grows into a visual or sonic work, or into something else. But for “Brainnectar” it was physical exercise and meditation that made it clear to me to take advantage of sonics. I was searching for something supporting and powering psycho­physical exercise.

Which are some texts and essays that have influenced your work?

This is difficult to answer. We talk about libraries here. I would say what shaped me first was not music — though I did listen — but books I read. Books gave me imagination for sounds I would work with. My childhood was listening György Ligeti and reading books. But as soon as I name a writer I will be put in a drawer, most likely from people who did not read that writer. Read books!

If you could choose any mainstream theatrical release from the past decade and redo the soundtrack yourself, which film would you choose and how would you go about scoring it?

Ah, pick any. And put a 4200 Hz sine tone at maximum volume over it.

In 2009, You released a CDR entitled 666 (Music for Francis Bacon). Elaborate on the significance of Bacon’s work to you and its resulting influence on your work.

I admire the way he twists the meat around. With beautiful brutality. Something that I see in Arnulf Rainer’s work too, in different ways. This release is a cut­up piece of sinister nature. And its title has a rather visual value on the miniature cover:­ it’s a 3.” It [derives] from a track with the title hö156435972811101. This seems also questionable. But it results from the compositions score of cut­ups.

Beyond this release, there are others which involved dedication via “For” (‘For Stringquintet and Asstrumpet,’ ‘For Girlsneck and Sawblade,’ ‘For Disarranged Leg / Arm Prothesis’ & ‘For Piano & Shotgun’). How does the idea of homage influence your creative process?

These are no dedications. No homages. It simply tells what the aktion or performance was written for. Like the concert I did for piano and shotgun in San Francisco. Or the one for stringquintet and “asstrumpet” in Tokyo. The “asstrumpet” was in this case Kaori. Her vocals [were] extreme intense while having a tube anal inserted, which I tried to play. We performed with a stringquintet on our side.

This consciousness-expanding and -illuminating technique triggers sensations described as “dripping nectar.” Brainnectar points onto these techniques and the track titles derive from related techniques, themes, and sounds.

The theater of your work (and that of the Schimpfluch Gruppe) has been characterized as “carnivalesque.” Any personal recollections of carnivals in your lifetime that are at all influential to your work?

Carnival was a good word for the three-day celebration “Extreme Rituals,” with so many Schimpfluch­relatives gathering. But I would not give any further or weighty meaning to the word itself. I don’t see it as a well-put characterization of our work.

What is your current saga? Any upcoming releases and/or events that we should be made aware of?

My tip is to watch out for a new vinyl by Alice Kemp. She has absolutely great material ready. Probably I will de/compose one piece for her LP these days. My own new releases will grow now and out of Brainnectar. And I will bring ideas from Brainnectar onto stage in the coming months.

If offered a collaboration with any celebrity, who would it be? Sensory details are crucial.

I’m not so good with celebrities,­ you know. So I continue there where I left Tiny Mix Tapes 5 years ago. With some more bits of it. It’s the movie of an anthill living in the womb of Angelina Jolie who, when the ants deserted the hill, will turn into a 4200 Hz sine tone.

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