Promos, letters and - above all - money (just kidding!) should be sent to the following address:
VIA AVICENNA 99
00146 ROMA (ITALY)
EMAIL : touchingextremes (at) gmail (dot) com
SECONDARY EMAIL : touchingextremes (at) inwind (dot) it
DESPERATION EMAIL : touching.extremes (at) tiscali (dot) it
The use of these writings in promotional materials, bio sheets and websites is free. Don't forget to quote at least the author's name. A link is appreciated.
This website is inspired by the ever-underrated vision and music of ROLAND KAYN.
LATE-REVIEW DISCLAIMER: Post offices around the world are becoming more and more unreliable. Sometimes - especially around Christmas and during summer holiday time - the goodies might be received even after two or three months from their shipping date, depending on your location. Please consider this when you don’t see an immediate response. I put my best effort in to catch up with the mess, yet this is not a “get-today-write-tomorrow” kind of website. It takes time to properly listen to a record, especially for an individual enterprise like this. Still, I’ll always be glad to reply to any inquiry about the arrival of the parcels (if I remember it). In all honesty, don’t be surprised if several months - or a year, or even more - slip away in the meantime. Essentially, if you need a quick writeup for a new release then this is the wrong place.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE: Do NOT declare any value when you ship promotional materials, as Italian customs charge money whenever they see something they can steal from, especially on registered mail. Priority/Air Mail (not registered) is the quickest and most convenient way. Any promo packet that gets taxed due to a high declared value will NOT be picked up. I have no time and money to waste for these kinds of inconvenience. Sorry.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE #2: Do NOT invite me to internet social groups (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo etc.). I don’t want to sound rude by refusing the invitation but, essentially, those services are useless here. Then again, we’re all classified and labelled enough already, don’t you think? Come on, MySpace makes deserving artists and squawking chickens look the same. Awful.
A FEW GUIDELINES FOR NEWCOMERS AND ANAL RETENTIVES, UNSOLICITED ANSWERS TO INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (which might even contribute to spare promos).
NO DEADLINE, NO RUSH.
You can rest assured that EVERY ITEM RECEIVED IS CAREFULLY SCRUTINIZED. Still, I can't guarantee immediate reviews, despite my hopeless attempts to keep the pace with the incoming releases, an increasing average of about 20/30 per week, while also trying to lead a normal (?) life. In case you didn't notice, I'm the only writer here. Deserving records that arrived late or slipped under the radar (and, in any case, more than one-year old) will be most probably reviewed in Temporary Fault. This could even include earlier releases, if you decide to send them. Anyway, recent releases take precedence in my priorities (you were aware of that already - weren’t you?). When a review is online I usually advise the interested parties via email.
TRANSLATION: it might take several months, up to a year or even longer before records are reviewed, especially in case of abundant batches. This does not mean that I won’t try to be quicker. Post offices don’t help, though (see above).
PRESS RELEASES AND DETAILED INFO ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Bear in mind that surfing the web in search of news is a waste of time – oh, and did I mention that I hate MySpace?
THERE'S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WRITING ABOUT MUSIC AND BEING A "CRITIC".
I'm not a critic. Primarily, Touching Extremes aims to give a vague idea of how a record sounds like by hinting to its processes, phenomena and relationships, as perceived by a single entity (myself). There are releases that inspire a pretty transparent kind of writing, while others might require a bit of purple prose. Some just need a sheer description and a few comments, especially if they’re not exactly memorable. The goal remains the same: inviting “someone” to deepen “something” that may cause interesting reactions. If that “someone” is a jerk, there’s no chance anyway.
NEGATIVE REVIEWS ARE NOT A PRIORITY.
As a general rule, I don't waste my time by writing about something that I didn't like. Still, sometimes one can see the artist’s seriousness and commitment even in an unsuccessful try. In that case, the effort deserves at least a mention and a review will be probably produced.
1) A couple of good tracks in a half-decent release doesn't save the day; neither does a perfectly realized, classy-but-shallow album.
2) An obnoxious track ruining a good outing may determine a non-review, but this could depend on other factors.
3) Vice versa, I may review something containing splendid sections even if the rest is average. Make me curious, and I’ll work!
4) Things that sound “ugly” but possess artistic value (yes, they do exist) will most probably be featured.
5) Essentially, I believe that objectionable records are better left ignored. I don’t want any mediocrity to act like a misinterpreted genius (“he doesn’t understand my music!”).
6) Then again, there are days in which one is more forgiving towards basically-useless-yet-nicely-sounding stuff, right? We’re all getting old.
NO SOUND FILES, STREAMING, DOWNLOADS, etc.
I have neither the time nor the will to download stuff (furthermore, I thoroughly disapprove the act of listening to music via MP3s, iPods and the likes). Send CDR copies if you want an online release to be reviewed. Don't attach sound files, because I'll just delete them. Please don’t ask me to buy a release to review it. That’s pathetic.
CONSIDER THE GENRES TOUCHING EXTREMES DEALS WITH.
If the kind of stuff you play and/or release is not featured here, submitting a CD for review is probably useless (but I'll gladly listen and keep it, haha). As usual, there might be exceptions. But, in consideration of the steady increase of received materials, one has to draw a few lines and leave something out. In case you missed something above, I stress that it might take several months, up to a year or even longer before records are reviewed, especially in case of abundant batches.
A LEVEL OF SERIOUSNESS IS REQUIRED (aka REQUIEM FOR THE ERSTWHILE "MUSICIAN").
Once upon a time, being a "musician" implied knowing how to play one or more instruments and a solid technical foundation – or, at least, one of the two. I'm not even mentioning the consistency of the being, which should be the starting point of any music - and life itself. Putting humbleness aside for a minute let me tell you that, after over four decades spent between sound and silence, I can easily gauge all these values in a recording, whatever the genre. A progressive deterioration of the mechanisms that control egocentrism, the self-production virus and the eternal illusion that brings most people to proclaim themselves "artists" have by now destroyed the original concept of "musician", often in favour of something called "sound artist" (indeed a definition that I myself often use). Of course there are also beautiful rare specimens, who never touched an instrument in their life and whose work I enjoy with all my vital juices. Still, my opinion nowadays is that almost everyone feels entitled to five minutes of "alternative artistic glory" - even complete nobodies - if only to show off amongst colleagues and friends. I will always try to contrast this trend, as hopeless as this stance may look. This means that bedroom dilettantes and pretentious wannabes calling themselves "musicians" only because they can afford buying instruments and/or issuing CDs are HIGHLY UNWELCOME, despite official albums, illustrious acquaintances, enthusiastic press releases - usually penned by friends or girlfriends - and intellectually contorted or "second-hand Zen" liners and presentations. An old Chinese proverb says: "A 10-second large hall reverb can only take you so far when you've got no ideas".
(If you're still not convinced, read the following paragraph).
BE HONEST IN ASSESSING YOUR VALUES (aka "ANTI-DEMOCRATIC PLEA AGAINST THE EXCESS OF SELF-ESTEEM").
Don't hide the fact that your music sucks behind political manifestos, idealistic freedom, fake spiritualism or typical "I-can't-play-but-I'm-creative" crap. Some folks got it, some folks don't. It's that simple. I want no part of lo-fi cacophonies splattered by some retard on cheap CDRs, and it is also my wish not to snore with monks, mantras, rain sticks, birds etc. sampled by bank employees and insurance brokers during their exotic holidays. We're steadily drowning in useless music. Spare us additional shit loads. Don't release it. And if you desperately want to release it, then send it to hip webzines and magazines. Just not here.
THERE’S ONLY A MILES DAVIS, THERE’S ONLY A FRANK ZAPPA, ETC.
Please take note: I hate copycats. Influences are OK but don't forget your dignity.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST.
Don’t you ever forget: sounds determine whether one’s an idiot.
“And the weak must die according to nature’s law, as old as they” (Genesis, “Time Table”, 1972)
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