In Amsterdam’s youth club Octopus, in the second half of 1980 and up to 1981, certain events were organized under the designation ULTRA events, eventually leading to Dutch post-punk movement ULTRA, which unlike the appropriate movements of the time, extended its experimentation to improvising with toy instruments, chainsaws and de-tuned guitars among other bizzare media. The organizer of the events was Harold Schellinx, member of the band The Young Lions and editor of Vinyl magazine. Emmanuel Rébus is a recorder of sounds “with no particular musical intention”, as he describes himself in his piece of microcassette audio art entitled “Post Chuseok”. Rinus Van Alebeek is a writer and dictaphone experimentalist. He is also curator of the revived Staaltape label, the cassette label of Staalplaat. Jean Bordé is a member of the Parisian improvisational scene. We hear he is the Jimi Hendrix of improvisational music.
Diktat are a Dutch-French collective, a combination of these four people with different backgrounds and influences who, nevertheless, maintain a common ground for artistic expression focusing on their more similar characteristics: Electro-acoustic improvisation, surrealist collage, lo-fi analog recordings and odd home-built electronic contraptions. The procedure is as follows: Jean plays double bass as Harold, Emmanuel and Rinus play various dictaphones for which they use their own collection of tapes. Three dictaphones always ready to record, one double bass always ready to be played, four men always ready to travel, lecture, perform and improvise.
On the tape release “Diktat in America” (staaltape 2014) you can hear Harold Schellinx explain the music of Diktat. He says: ”If you would have the chance to hear Diktat play more often you will hear that the same voices and snippets of talking come back in a different setting. Rébus has a certain collection of tapes, I have a certain collection of tapes, Rinus has a certain collection of tapes and all these tapes tend to come back. When I am in a certain mood I’d like to think about Diktat not as a group that performs and performs, performs and performs but as a kind of piece of music that has different instantiations. Each time that we do it is a different instantiation of the piece Diktat.”
Likewise one can conclude that the piece Diktat can be stretched out over a certain period of time. This is exactly what Harold Schellinx did for “Tour De Force” tape. He composed a variation of the piece Diktat in ten movements that starts in the year 0 of the group’s existence.