Spiral #5 – September 1989

Spiral #5 cover
Spiral #5 tracklistGurdjieff's harmonium
Terry Cole-Whittaker

To open this Spiral cassette with George I. Gurdjieff (~1870-1949) aknowledges his skills as a postmodern expert at ease in multifarious disciplines like psychology, music, danse, cooking, poetry, literature, etc, something Willem De Ridder was himself trying to be. This Spiral episode delves into media manipulation and how sound is empowering the people who know how to use it, and is probably not about promoting LSD, Marxist guerilla or free sex on the phone, as might appear at first hearing.

The legendary Gurdjieff accordion and harmonium recordings were made in 1949 by US citizen Jessmin Howarth, aka Sophie Grigorievna Ouspensky, widow of Peter D. Ouspensky, one of Gurdjieff’s disciples. The daily music playing happened after lunches and dinners at his Paris appartment, 6 Rue des Colonels Renard. Sophie used different tape recorders including two Brush tape recorders and one wire recorder, the latter technology producing a caracteristic flutter, typical from these tapes.

Overwork or shame?: when asked who were the famous models for his last portraits, Andy Warhol just can’t remember the names (interview, tr.#2). The LSD séance documented on track #3 is an excerpt from an anti-LSD record. It does sound like a forgery but is great fun to listen. The high priestess of Powerfull Living, Terry Cole-Whittaker delivers a mix of blatant individualism and how to use the Bible as a field guide to everyday living. The Gimmick on track #5 is an electronic drone courtesy of Mr Andrew McKenzie, yet it could be a mere found sound. On track #6, two Americans record a coup from their La Paz, Bolivia hotel. They don’t seem to realize coups are a daily routine in this town. The last track is a recording from a sexual conversation between a British young man and a Dutch hostess. One wonders who’s in control here: the one who pays or the one who performs?

Thanks to anonymous reader for the rip.

01 G.I. Gurdjieff Harmonium and Accordion Improvisation (5:46)
02 Andy Warhol Interview (10:34)
03 Anti LSD Record – Sound document (8:20)
04 Terry Cole-Whittaker Lecture (4:40)
05 Spiral Information Service Gimmick (1:29)
06 Guy & Sterno Location Recording (Bolivia) (17:47)
07 Phone Sex – Sound document (11:47)

Total time 60:00
Cassette released by Spiral Information Service, Amsterdam, 1989


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