Rule of thumb: a review is not a given. More about that later.
Second: do your homework before sending stuff. See what kinds of music are reviewed here. Every email containing links or promo blah-blah not related to the genres I write about is treated as spam and reported accordingly. I’m not kidding, folks. Keep me out of those fucking lightweight pop/voguish hip-hop/cheap lounge jazz/techno shit/depressing songwriter lists.
Third: Touching Extremes / Massimo Ricci are NOT interested in joining social networks. Please do not send invitations in that sense, they will be ignored. I have no problem if you share/diffuse the reviews, though… thanks for that indeed.
Postal address (promos, checks/banknotes to corrupt the reviewer, etc.):
VIA AVICENNA 99
EMAIL: touchingextremes (at) gmail (dot) com
WARNING: DO NOT DECLARE VALUES ON THE PROMO PACKAGES OR THEY WILL BE TAXED BY THE ITALIAN CUSTOMS AND RETURNED TO THE SENDER (WHO, TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR THE EXPENSES). ALSO, AVOID REGISTERED MAIL: I HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE PICKING UP REGISTERED PARCELS AT THE POST OFFICE, SO THE AFOREMENTIONED PARCELS WILL BE COMING BACK TO YOU LATER THAN SOONER (ITALY BEING ITALY) OR THROWN IN SOME DUMP, SOMEWHERE, BY THE VERY STAFF OF THE VERY POST OFFICE (ITALY BEING ITALY).
In regard to the first line of this page, here’s the explanation. Due to the huge amount of incoming materials, I cannot possibly guarantee that your record will be reviewed. The current reviewed/not reviewed ratio is around 8-10 writeups a month against a MUCH bigger quantity of promos received in the same time span, either physical or digital. Therefore, remember: you send records accepting that they will probably be listened to after a long time from their receipt, or not listened to at all before I die. As of today, the rare immediate reviews that I still manage to post every once in a while are due to lucky coincidences more than anything else.
At the same time, I have no problems in reviewing older albums. I happen to think that good music has no expiration date, and in any case it’s never too late to be positively surprised by something that was veiled by archival obscurity until that moment. Or remind people that an excellent record – still deserving a good listen – had been issued a few years before.
Once upon a time – say, from 2001 to 2005 – I was able to cover almost everything sent my way. Joining Paris Transatlantic and Bagatellen exposed me to a much larger audience and (sweet) trouble began, under the guise of undeserved acoustic gifts from all over the globe. Now it is difficult for me to even remember if a record has arrived or not when I am asked. Again, we’re talking hundreds of promos received per month, and I’m only writing in the little spare time left by a pretty complicated daily life. Please be realistic and understand that this is a one-man, near-impossible-to-maintain venture.
One thing you can be sure of, though: I have no preferences in terms of “label’s prestige”, “illustrious friendship” or similar bullshit. I am the one who decides when a writeup is ready to go online and, more often than not, it depends on pure chance and/or my will of giving equal exposure to those who deserve it.
Regarding promo downloads, they’re now welcome despite my disliking (I’m getting old, the world is changing fast, there’s no more room in the house etc.). Please send links to the record’s page, if possible including participants and instrumentation. But remember: Sending digital promos via email does not warrant a quicker review. You’ve been warned!
Also, “synthesis” has now become a keyword, more than ever. If a record is not genuinely worth the effort, seeing more than 150-to-300 words about it here will be difficult. And those words will mostly deal with how the stuff sounds, purple prose or not. When 800 (or more) words are used to rehash an artist’s career, blather about circumstantial facts (“insight”, as someone would have it) or obsessively describe every single fart, that review is a useless one for me. If I need to learn about an artist/record’s background, I go googling (*). From a music writer, I want to know how a record essentially sounds via a well-written, possibly concise report (examples: Dan Warburton, Brian Olewnick or, in completely different genres but still brilliant, Jon Worley)
Older instructions, just for the curious/archeologist types among you, are to be found here. Some of them are still valid, though.
(*) And, starting January 2021, you don’t even need to: in fact, every review from then on contains a link to the artist/band’s bio, whenever available. Smart move, huh?