Sunday's performance is a live rendition, using film and projected images, of the astonishing album, Kaddish, which welds together disparate musical styles - think Shostakovich, Jan Garbarek, Nine Inch Nails - so successfully as to give postmodernism a good name. Kaddish as a project evolved over the last four years, from the experimentalism and wealth of musical experience shared by the two musicians who make up Towering Inferno, Richard Wolfson and Andy Saunders.
After years of touting the work round sniffy record companies, Towering Inferno are now signed to Island, and since their sell-out show at the QEH this spring, they've played in Budapest, Vienna, and most pointedly, Berlin, on the anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Poland. Wherever they go, Kaddish leaves audiences emotionally exhausted and speechless. Die Welt itself called it "a master-work".
For Sunday's show, the filmic side of Kaddish has been completely revamped, with the services of a professional director, lighting designer and film editor. Three giant cinema screens and 70 projectors will work to produce a spectacle designed specially for the Empire. The film, shot by the band all over the world, stays away from knee-jerk footage of concentration camps and is instead far more impressionistic. "All the images we use are about contradiction," says Wolfson. You'd think the possibility of making accessible, moving yet serious music about such a taboo subject was a contradiction too. Until you saw this.
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