VITAL WEEKLY (Holland) - September 2014

         The experience of being totally flabbergasted by a piece of music is an experience I always hope for but happens not very often. With NINSHUBAR - a Sumerian goddess - it happened. It left me completely disoriented and impressed at the same time. Feeling that I witnessed something very special, but not being able to identify what it is. Beyond known categories. Well, calm down a bit, you might think. But I’m with both feet on the ground while writing these lines. Again, what a records this is

      First I was attracted by the name of Catherine Jauniaux, who was involved in Marc Hollander’s Aksak Maboul in the 80s. Together with Monica Demuru she supplies the vocals for this work. Hasse Poulsen plays guitar and Riccio himself drums and percussion, plus laptops, ‘hybrizided rhythmicity’ and ‘organic sound mosaics’. 

      Alessio Riccio originates from Florence, started as a drummer and developed himself also in the world of electronics. He released several albums between 2000 and 2003. Then a period of ten year silence followed. With NINSHUBAR he breaks the silence with a tornado of sounds, noises, in a megalomaniac audiowork. ‘Megalomaniac’ has a negative connotation, but please erase that here. This electroacoustic work combines progressive rock and electronics in an impressive way. How to describe this work more specific? It is psychodrama, audioplay, a multi-dimensional electro-acoustical soundwork. Sometimes rock, sometimes jazz, contemporary music, easy listening, but whatever style one may identify it is from beginning to end something completely else

      The work is divided into 18 small units, but the work comes to you as one massive whole taking about 66 minutes. This music is so incredibly rich. So much detail in the sounds. So many movements, little gestures, colours, etc. Riccio lists also indirect performers, from Aphex Twin to Frank Zappa. He uses samples of them I suppose. In all its complexity there is also much drama in this music of theatrical proportions. There is truly blood streaming through the veins here. An essential record! [DM]


Original review here.

MUSIK AN SICH... (Germany) - August 2014

     Alessio Riccio is a native of Florence drummer and percussionist, who is considered one of the best in his art in Italy. He has studied his instruments in every respect and is active in the broad context of jazz, free jazz, experimental and Music Concrete. With NINSHUBAR - From the above to the below he puts something of his magnum opus in 18 merging parts from.

      The music here comes from drums, percussion, guitar, electronics and voice. It is somewhere similar to free jazz but tries to seek its own path while keeping the ear to strip known areas. So, sometimes the late Talk Talk me come to mind, as Philippe Petit, with his wrong-headed, dark sound, especially the one found in his collaborations with Lydia Lunch. 

      It is difficult to categorize the music of Alessio Riccio using the mere written word. (...) What is offered here is a very challenging, demanding music which, sometimes every second, will generate a variety of moods. (...) Here each note is pre-planned and put in the place where he is now.

      The musicians know how to get sounds out of their crafts, a sound which one sometimes has never heard of, and every second of the work sounds like a symphony of evil. The disc would be best suited also as a soundtrack for special movies,  A masterpiece in the field of experimental and concrete music, incredibly deep and exciting.


Original review here.

MONSIEUR DELIRE (France) - May 2014

     I am very impressed by this record that needs to be listened to in a single stitting. We’re in some kind of hörspiel Italian-style, somewhere between electroacoustics, contemporary composition, and free improvisation. Our host/composer: percussionist Alessio Riccio.

     He also uses parts performed by guitarist Hasse Poulsen and vocalists Monica Demuru and Catherine Jauniaux – a small team of top players. Eighteen pieces that form a very consistent 66-minute cycle. What wows me the most here is the pacing, the total lack of overdoing-it. Highly recommended.


Original review here.


     Alessio Riccio is an electroacoustic composer redrawing the theoretical lines and artistic vision for new improvisational music.

     Undefinable if not abstract terminology such as free jazz or experimental music were created by critics and other related professionals that gave up trying to fit the proverbial square peg into the traditionally acceptable round hole. The simplest aspect of music and perhaps the only mandatory requirement is that you listen...with an open mind. Ninshubar - From The Above To The Below is a powerful and evocative soundscape of raw emotion converted to a musical form.

Alessio Riccio is a critically acclaimed electroacoustic composer moving past the abstract and into a more accessible real of a harmonic life force. An ambient pulse, layered textures of sound and rhythm that morph together utilizing drums, percussion, laptops, hybridized rhythmicity, and organic sound mosaics. To attempt to convey the motion of this synergy would be the equivalent of explaining colors to a person that has been visually impaired their entire life. You listen to the nuances yet you hear the pulse. A cerebral onslaught of electromagnetic energy, a new harmonic was of presenting a lyrical flow.

There are a myriad of stylistic references that gentle cascade through this powerful recording which includes guitarist Hasse Poulsen and vocalists Monica Demuru and Catherine Jauniaux. I have always said you need to take what you know and what you like and move past that. Again, the only requirement is that you listen.


Original review here.

DRUMSET MAG (Italy) - November 2013

     Alessio Riccio always loves to explore. The Florentine drummer, who in the past has distinguished himself for having expanded beyond the known limit his polyrhythmic drumming language, widens further his point of view, looking for new forms of sound, like a real astronaut of music. Ninshubar, the original name of a Sumerian deity, is a successful project that moves between contemporary music and avant-garde rock, along with some electronics. But it is useless to define the exact label: Alessio Riccio's music is completely new

     To stay on the spatial metaphor, Alessio collects the remains of a big bang explosion and, in a universe always expanding, creates new forms using the fragments as pieces of a mosaic. Short traces of polyrhythmic fills, sol called "hybrids" drums which are played or sampled, re-organized, mixed with other timbres, along with the guitars of Hasse Poulsen and speaking voices of Monica Demuru and Catherine Jauniaux. 

     Using many samples taken from previously recorded material, Alessio says "I worked to the compositional/assemblative procedures with a xenocronic approach (quoting Frank Zappa's composing technique) or simply putting together sounds which blended well with certain coloristic needs".

     The sound is matter in continuous transformation, which stops for a moment on this CD, and then mingle, dismembered and reassembled to be inserted in the right place. A disc where everything is designed to detail, difficult but intense, fascinating for the rigor with which it was conceived.


Original review here.