Selected quotes from nice compliments and angry outbursts thrown my way. Have fun!
“The Occam’s Razor of reviewers” (Derek Taylor)
“A philosopher for our times” (Clifford Allen)
“Our own purple prose peddler” (Dan Warburton)
“The CDs keep on coming, and divine madmen like Massimo keep on writing” (Return of the son of Dan Warburton)
“Anyone who is interested in finding out about recordings of music that transcend the predictable can go to Massimo Ricci’s Touching Extremes“ (Glenn Branca, on the New York Times blog Opinionator)
“I don’t know if he’s superfamiliar with this area of music (*), and his reviews generally tend towards sounding like press releases, but this one’s not bad” (Jon Abbey, owner of Erstwhile Records, commenting on my review of Keith Rowe and Toshimaru Nakamura’s Between).
(*) (Answer: I was listening to AMM and Keith Rowe’s first solo CD A Dimension Of Perfectly Ordinary Reality at a time in which most of today’s experts were probably still into A Flock Of Seagulls).
“We are barraged with incessant babble, but to see this incisive prose spoken with such intellect and heart, indeed wisdom, made me feel I was reading the words of a kindred spirit and thinking thoughts not unlike my own”. (Dennis Girard)
“It’s always refreshing to have someone that actually listened to your material review it, but this is so microscopic in detail its near frightening…”. (Michael Vallera)
“Makes no sense to me, but if you like it…” (Don Bianco, in response to the above sentence by Michael Vallera)
“Ricci… not only writes as a fish can swim but expresses all of his senses provocatively and honestly”. (Jeff Neal)
“I can’t stand his writing, to be honest. Can’t take anything from it. Is he capable of any kind of insight at all? And for christ’s sake, is there anything this guy doesn’t like (of the stuff he writes about)?” (Grisha Shakhnes aka Mites, on I Hate Music)
“Massimo Ricci’s voluble quill (…) clearly perceives the infinitesimal shades” (Daniel Crokaert, Unfathomless)
“Ill-informed and nasty” (Ed Gillett aka Shape Worship, in enraged response to my ironic letter to Wire about trendy new-rock starlet St Vincent being featured in an undeserved cover story). The guy ranted about this stupid issue throughout a good number of venomous Tweets, crying all over the place across a two-week span to get a couple of pathetic pat-on-the-back replies by his playfriends.
“Massimo Ricci is deeply insightful and eloquent” (Bob Marsh)
“It takes a really special flower to be a critical troll in replying to someone’s obituary. Every criticism that occurs in your head doesn’t have to be shared and published the instant it occurs to you. Resist the urge to constantly prove to the world how right you are and how wrong everyone else is. All you’ve proved is that you’re an utter bore. The man just died, jackass. Show some respect.” (Scott Unrein, in response to a slightly-out-of-the-choir comment of mine on the late Robert Ashley’s obituary by Kyle Gann). PS: He put my email address in his spam box after I wrote him to teach some class. Tough kid, he’s gonna go far. PPS: Mr.Gann removed the whole post after the incident. Gotta love freedom of speech. PPPS: Lonesome Cowboy Scott is a designer for the Irritable Hedgehog label; “Ricci” translates as “hedgehogs” in English (honest). But I’m not that irritable.
“Don’t sweat the dork, sweetie” (Final advice to yours truly from a famous composer – who will obviously remain nameless – after the above episode occurred).
“Insatiable. On average, he produces 40 reviews a month but listens to 80. That may explain why his reviews are never brutally negative: he discards what he considers the chaff. He is well-informed and writes fluidly in what I assume is his second language” (Scott Fields, on his website’s “Meet The Critics” section). PS: My average output has sadly decreased since Mr.Fields pronounced these kind words…
“The present reader would seem at this time to be experiencing the influence of a rarefied yet familiar constellation of emotions concomitant with the modalities inherent in reaction to the apparent steadfast refusal of the writer now under our collective gaze to align himself, however tentatively, with the advice proffered by the artists hereunder reviewed in the hortatory title ironically attached to the composition currently subject to our consideration”. (User “Herodios” at something called Metafilter (**), wonderfully mocking my writing style. Thank you, Mr. Heron!).
(**) Upon further research, the Metafilter sub-phenomenon has existed for a long time. What have I been missing all these years. A gathering of mostly highbrow, quasi-sectarian topics whose rate of usefulness in the context of a normal person’s life ranges from 0,1 to 0,5 percent. In the weblog’s Wikipedia page, you’ll read this description: “the public-spirited flavor of a small town or good university”. La crème de la crème of social networks, one would say. I’m still dumbfounded about the individual raptus urging the members of such a distinguished elite to check Touching Extremes – over 2200 hits in a single day after I was linked there – but hey, thanks for the honor!
“With (CENSORED) becoming weaker and more New Music-celebrity driven with each issue (both in terms of what it covers and who is covering it), and the new (CENSORED) being a massive letdown on almost every level and bordering on self-parody, thankfully there are STILL some independent, unpurchased, free-thinking New Music writers out there who pay attention to THE WORK and engage in a deep investigation of that work, not worrying about what clique it grew out of or how much money was spent on packaging…who have not forgotten the DIY/outsider roots of the music and who realize that when New Music becomes the established norm, then it’s become part of the problem, not part of the solution…and one of those rare few who, fortunately for us, continues to write regularly and explore new and little-discussed work is Italy’s Massimo Ricci”. (Bill Shute at Kendra Steiner)
A multi-instrumentalist composer/improviser since his late teens and an independent music writer starting from 1992, Massimo Ricci initiated Touching Extremes in the summer of 2001. Besides collaborating with Paris Transatlantic, The Squid’s Ear and Bagatellen, he was the editor of two additional websites: Temporary Fault and Brain Dead Eternity. Both are not updated anymore – they’re history, but remain online as archives. All the reviews posted there are also found in this website, archived according to the chronological order in which they appeared on the original sites. From now on, recent (and less) records received by the author will be reviewed here (or, until he decides to kick him out of there, in Phil Zampino’s The Squid’s Ear).
Touching Extremes’ Archives from 2001 to 2008 – complete with a succulent search engine – are to be found here.
Touching Extremes / Massimo Ricci are NOT interested in joining social networks. Please do not send invitations in that sense, they will be ignored.