Spirals 1Dum Ditty Dum Gene Booth and Jack Henrie Fisher
Our concept of the spiral in recorded music is that it is a literal diagram of the material medium of the vinyl record.
Theodore Adorno writes that music literally becomes writing with the invention of the phonograph record:
this writing is inscribed as a spiral on the vinyl platter.
The spiral inscription on a shellac disc or whatever the material happens to be, literally is writing. It follows (like a curve unfolding from a central point) that the seemingly decorative appearance of spirals on album cover art, or spinning as record label logos, or in lyrics (and also in musical structures like Coltrane solos) is a figure (an illustration but not only that; it is also the internal diagram) of that musical material medium-machine that is the vinyl record (and maybe the cd?).
This is what is so intense and fascinating about the spiral form when one starts to think about it and see its multi-dimensional instances in the commodity world of recorded music.
The visual figure of the spiral in phonograph music, initially shaped by the material spiral structure of the phonograph record, is so forceful (as forces of production are) that it projects itself into the world (pops up, emerges, comes to the surface, SPIRAL-LIKE) through graphic forms like record covers and record company logos, AND AND AND the collective social forms that produce and consume (jazz, rock/pop, rap) music in the first place.
Spirals in this sense are inorganic machine traces that unconsciously recur as the material dream sequence of the mechanical apparatus of the record player in capitalism. The black fan Atlantic logo really nails it. But
yeah one can, as Freud describes in dream interpretation, resist and repress traumatic truths by misreading the spiral figure as something natural or organic (like a nautilus shell or soap bubble).
But the mechanical spiral nevertheless pushes out and is formalized through dreams and slips of tongue and mishaps with various objects.
black and scarlet risograph
edition of 200