Towering Inferno

  • Towering Inferno
  • Kaddish (UK TI) 1994  (UK Island) 1995  (Island Independent) 1996 

Englishmen Andy Saunders and Richard Wolfson — Towering Inferno — began performing Kaddish, a thematic multi-media piece about the Holocaust, in 1993. (The title is the Jewish prayer for the dead). Such a violently engaging work, so heavily dependent upon visuals and the visceral impact of live amplitude to make its impact felt, would seem doomed if abstracted into a single dimension, yet the transformation from performance piece to record album is thoroughly successful. Long, intricate and involving, Kaddish incorporates strange, dubby atmospherics, delicate piano melodicism and grinding metallic guitar passages with artistic ambience, dense, bellicose percussion, thudding electronica and newsreel-like voices — Foetus meets Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg?. Taken in toto, Kaddish is both remarkably horrifying (their point) and ultimately fascinating (their goal). Hopefully, it represents the next logical step in that ever-morphing world of sound: a thoughtfully intense modern musical work that tests not only your ears but also your soul.

[Jason Ferguson]