As a child I had no musical education at all. But I liked to sing and I perfectly remember the moment, when I - at the age of four - discovered the fact, that one needs no song to sing. I discovered improvisation. Later, as a boy, fascinated by the English and American popmusic, I tried to play guitar, like many other boys too. Playing around like this, I got in touch with a group of elder musicians, who brought me back to freestyle improvisation again, which was natural to me from the first moment. In a music shop I found a new, shiny double bass and I suddenly knew, this is my instrument. I asked my father, if he would buy it for me and he said: yes, but then you'll get no moterbike. This was actually my first serious instrument, a plywood bass for about 300$. Only 16 years old I started to play bass in the small impro- and free jazz scene of Linz. At that time I still was a scholar at an engineering school, which I finished 1973.
After my final examination I went to Vienna. I soon got in touch with the music scene in town and I joined the band around the polnish saxofone player Leszek Zadlo, an excellent jazz musician, open to freestyle improvisation. We played many concerts in Austria, Germany, Hungaria and Poland. I also met some of the Austrian and German jazz-musicians and occasionally I joined some other formations, which gave room to freestile improvisation too. Last but not least I met the great synthesizer player Dieter Feichtner, to whom I was bound in friendship till the end of his life. I also have to mention the ingenious faker Herbert Seel, who had a natural talent for confidency trickery. Staying together with this man for one crazy summer, I learnt a lot about 'serious' music-busyness, which is in fact a fake too, but less amusing. One day I found a course for Electroacoustic Music at the University. That was it, what I was longing for allready since my time at school. I attended that course for the next two years. From the first moment electroacoustic became my new favourite element. Nevertheless I still was continuing playing bass and I tryed to combine both ways of creating music.
After my studies I left Vienna and rented an an old, half-dilapedated castle on the countryside for 150$ a month. Here I built up my first own studio: 3 mono tape-recorders and a mixer at first, at that time allready 20 years old, but really solid stuff in tube technology. I finished my first tape-composition MUGL ENTSTEIGT (Mugl arises), followed by MÄRCHEN (fairytale), TRIO I and ETUDE IN GRAU (etude in grey). On the side I prepared some temporary playbacks for solo concerts and multimedia performances with double bass, tape and slide projections by Renate Porstendorfer. I also was running a string-duo together with Paul Fickl, the violin player. We had some concerts and performances in Austria, Kroatia and Paris.
For the first time I released my music on cassette: MUGL ENTSTEIGT and FLASCHENPOST (mail in abottle), a collection of older concert recordings and overdubs. Especially the second one fullfilled its purpose perfectly: Famous Friedrich Gulda happened to find one copy at his record company. He was so fascinated, especially by the second track, that he invited me to take part in some sessions at his place together with Ursula Anders on drums. After some months of rehearsing we came out with a new improvisation-trio, simply called Gulda-Rabl-Anders and we played some big concerts in Austria and Germany, just doing consequently freestyle improvisation. After another year this formation fell apart again and I concentrated my work on tape composition. A grant by the Ministery of Art, which was very openminded at that time, helped me to continue.
The old castle was about to be sold and I had to look for another place. I rented an empty pub and set up my studio in the formar dancing room. The years before I made lots of outdoor-recordings in the ambient of a small village close to a place for military exercises: people, animals, harvest machines, church-bells, brass-bands, sirenes, tanks, jets, guns, everything. Now the time had come, to 'digest' this plenty of material. I organized it around a central recording of breathing and so I spent one year working on ATEM (breath). Georg Danczul had constructed some analog devices of high quality according to my needs (generators, modulators, distorters), which became my basic tools for the next ten years.
1982 I got an invitation by EMS in Stockholm to produce my composition ETUDE IN GRAU in their computer studios. Georg Dancul helped me again and did all the programing work. On that occasion I learned programming in FORTRAN, like I learnt everything in my life: by doing. In the same year I began recording sessions with Dieter Feichtner, who had the idea, to record his complete musical inharitance - an undertaking, which occupied many a summer until 1997.
My everyday situation, however, became more and more unbearable due to roadworks and brickworks in the neighbourhood. I spent much of my time in the forests and I went to Greek for a while doing some theoretical work on multidimensional space and sketching music on paper (TRIO II). Since I had three new pieces, but the concert organizers did not know how to deal with tape-music at all, I decided to organize my own concert. In december 1983 I rented an old palais in Vienna and presented ATEM, TRIO I and NEBENGERÄUSCHE (etude in grey) for a small audience.
My style of music had changed very drastically, in composition as well as in playing, but no one of influence seemed to appreciate it. One day I had to realize, that I had not even one concert for a whole year (except the one, I organized on my own). Time for a change. I decided to stop playing bass forever and I prepared moving house, leaving many things behind: instruments, books, records. Finally I burnt over 200 tapes and cassettes with concert-recordings - not necessarily bad music, but I felt them like weights on my legs. An incredible lump of melted plastic ! (arty people might have declared it a subject of art). I did not regret up to now.
I rented an empty school building and set up my studio in a formar class-room, with view on the church yard.
since 2001 Neustift