Towering Inferno: Kaddish
Island CID 8039
Do you like being frightened by music? I do.
A piece that still gives me the creeps, after nearly forty years, is Pink Floyd’s UmmaGumma version of ‘Careful With That Axe Eugene,’ especially when played in the pitch black of the bedroom when all on my ownsome. If you have a fave from the grave, why not add it to the comments list at the bottom of this posting.
Now, if I’m rooting around in the charity shop and pick up an album described as ‘The most frightening record I’ve ever heard’ by no less a person than the Very Ambient Brian Eno, I guess you’ll agree, I’d be mad not to fork out the necessary cash, take it home and give it some serious attention.
This is exactly what happened with Towering Inferno’s ‘Kaddish’ the other week.
It appears that there’s quite a cult status attached to this album and lots of folk who matter to me including Trent Reznor and Laurie Anderson, seem to go along with Eno in his assessment.
Towering Inferno was formed in 1985 by Richard Wolfson, who sadly passed away in 2005 and Andy Saunders and they worked on Kaddish releasing it in 1988. It included contributions by choirs, rabbis, string quartets, cantors, folk singers, and any number of well known musicians including Jocelyn Pook, John Marshall and Elton Dean. It tells the story of the Jewish people’s sojourn in Europe centring on the nightmare of the Holocaust and incorporates a variety of sampled historic recordings including extracts of speeches by Hitler himself. Towering Inferno toured with a multi-media stage show consisting of 18 musicians until 1999 presenting Kaddish around the world culminating with 3 nights at Melbourne State Opera House. How come I missed it?
Given that Eno et al are already credited with dishing out such high praise to this brilliant concept album, I feel it ill behoves me to try and outdo them with my workmanlike gonzo prose. So I’ll just say I wholeheartedly agree that this is a record every self-respecting serious muso should have in their collection.