AMN Reviews: Diktat – In Berlin

Diktat: In Berlin [self-released]

This recording of seven improvisations performed at various locations in Berlin last summer features the unlikely quartet of three Dictaphones and one double bass.

The Dictaphones are used as lo-fi sound projectors for the playback of manipulated and unmanipulated tapes of various origins. While the machines run, double bassist Jean Bordé plays melodic fragments and extended sounds. Mixing is done on the fly, as Emmanuel Rébus, Rinus van Alebeek and Harold Schellinx move their Dictaphones closer to or farther away from the recorder over the course of an improvisation.

The tracks collected here fall into two categories—what the group call IN-sides, recorded indoors in concert settings, and OUT-sides, recorded outdoors in public spaces. The OUT-side pieces, represented here by the tracks Tempelhof, Lohmühlenbrücke, Rütlistrasse, and Wachturm, are for all practical purposes assisted field recordings as ambient sounds blend in with the playbacks and bass to add a fifth layer to the group’s standing four-layer sound collage. Whether performed indoors or outdoors, the group’s sound is a kind of electroacoustic counterpoint based on a simultaneity of textures rather than of melodies.