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Towering Inferno Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £13.49
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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 April 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B000024GZ7
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,930 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audacious but brilliant 17 Sep 2005
Format:Audio CD
If you read the previous review and chuckled at the NME wannabe phrasings, childish attempt at controversy and dismal spelling then you probably regarded the comments as equally fatuous.
Kaddish is a masterpiece. One which won't be matched since one of the band has since departed this life. A concept album about the holocaust is a pretty audacious thing to attempt. Towering Inferno pull it off with a combination of gentle Yiddish and Gypsy folk, brooding classical interludes and frightening Laibach-like industrial phases. It takes a few listens to come to terms with, but pays back the effort with interest. By turns a sad, beautiful and genuinely frightening record, Kaddish is a genuinely moving album that cannot be recommended too highly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Overwhelming 10 Sep 2002
Format:Audio CD
has any historical occurrence been explored more in the arts of the past 50 years than the Holocaust? It is one of the dominant - if not the defining - features of this century's cultural landscape, and its incomprehensible horror necessitates artistic invention as a vehicle for emotional release.
Towering Inferno's remarkably ambitious Kaddish is so distinct, so innovative, and so powerful that it instantly joins the ranks of the best artistic responses to the Holocaust. This multimedia project serves as a reminder that this wasn't only a Jewish tragedy, but a European one.
The audio portion of the piece, recorded over a three-year period in London and Budapest, centers on prose written and spoken by Hungarian poet Endre Szkarosi. His words draw on prayers (the piece is named after the Jewish prayer for the dead), Nazi sloganeering, and survivor anecdotes. The tone is in turns grave, scarifying, and pleadingly perplexed.
But it's the music composed by Richard Wolfson and Andy Saunders that carries the most weight. Claims that Kaddish represents a new form of music are hyperbolic, and fans of Phillip Glass and Laurie Anderson, among others, will not hear anything alien in the piece. As a technical achievement, though, it stands almost alone, blending and juxtaposing classical structures with folk and rock idioms both sacred and secular, from violin obligatos to Metallica-style power-riffing. Anchoring it all are passages of European folk music, sung gorgeously by Marta Sebestyen, the Hungarian thrush who has spearheaded the revival of Magyar musical traditions with the group Muzsikas. Her tender and sometimes mournful lines provide both earthly grounding and heavenly comfort.
Kaddish is overwhelming - as beautiful as it is terrifying.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars File under Not Commercial 3 May 2008
By Richard
Format:Audio CD
With its grim subject matter concerning Jews in Germany as a theme which invokes concentration camps in Germany during WW2 this is pretty frightening stuff like Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.Texts are included in the booklet.
There's a lot been written about this work by others more qualified than me but nobody has reviewed Kaddish-apparantly a Jewish prayeron here
Some one had to do it and somebody did
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1 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious & Self Indulgent 17 Feb 2005
Format:Audio CD
This is a sort of rock cum orchestra package that is as unlistenable as it is infuriating. Inaccessable and incomprehensible to the vast majority of people, this self-indulgent experimental epic is maddeningly pompous. Records like this are favoured only by simpering eggheads who consider themselves to be some kind of self-appointed musical intelligenstia. It reeks pretense and looms from your speakers with a stifling gloom. The tracklist reads like a Nathan Barley DJ set and should be enough to set alarm bells ringing. Avoid.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making Art of History 5 Mar 2005
By Robert Carlberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The ostensible subject matter of "Kaddish" -- the Holocaust -- is in fact just the building material with which this collage was constructed. It is not so much ABOUT the Holocaust as it is an auditory artwork which stands alone. It helps of course to appreciate the gravity of some of the source material, but I don't agree with Amazon's contention that a libretto would be advantageous. Quite the opposite, I think it would limit the listeners' interpretations.

Wolfson (R.I.P.) and Saunders utilize several styles of music (rock, jazz, liturgical, folk, deep space electronics) as well as recordings of Nazi and Jewish speakers, crowd noises and various other sounds. The term "collage" isn't really appropriate I guess, because "Kaddish" is arranged into a series of musical vignettes, many with no sound effects over the top at all. It is this wide-ranging, unclassifiable character which makes "Kaddish" so difficult to pigeonhole, or summarize, or remember clearly. It is also what makes it endlessly fascinating.

East-German composer Georg Katzer made a collage in 1983 entitled "Aide Memoire" which contrasted Hitler's speeches and Reichstag rhetoric with Jewish folk music and popular music of the 1930s. "Kaddish" can be seen as the more-musical stepchild of that work -- more subtle perhaps, but no less powerful for that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Woefully Neglected Work of Art 1 Mar 2010
By Bradley L. Vandeventer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The British duo of Richard Wolfson and Andy Saunders (along with a cast of supporting chamber musicians and international vocalists) unleashed this cavalcade of dynamics in 1996, accompanying it on live shows with an arresting video montage of Nazi rally and Holocaust footage. This seamless juxtaposition of disparate elements (metal, jazz, classical, electronica, industrial, tone poems, folk song) makes for an unforgettable listen. An inkling of WWII knowledge will make it haunt your thoughts forever. With so many culminating points, it's hard to determine what the real, intended crescendo is--assuming Wolfson and Saunders intended for one. I would say the marching, industrial beat of "Modern Times" would be it, but someone else might choose the ire of Hungarian poet Endre Szkarosi on "Edvard Kiraly", or Marta Sabestyen's ominous vocalizing on "The Bell". It could just as easily be the synth-drenched, pummeling "Occupation", or the understated string quintets on "Dachau" or "The Ruin". Brian Eno himself considered it the most frightening album he had ever heard; when not frightening, "Kaddish" is in turn sleek, solemn, and sorrowful. But always beautiful. A stunning aural achievement that has gone unheralded for way too long.
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