CD Review: Nick Riff “Photon Shift”

Cleveland, OH-based musician Nick Riff has already spent a great deal of time of his life making music in bands around the Ohio and Kentucky regions. Early on, Riff got his start performing in both original and cover-based bands. But for the last two decades, Nick Riff has been creating his own brand of original rock in a solo career that has included releasing several EPs as well as albums.
While most musicians follow the current trends in music, Nick Riff has been creating a very retro sounding style to his music. Riff has been creating music that incorporates a very psychedelic feel to it. With that feeling and the space and time elements and subjects that Riff writes about, his music fills a very unique niche in music.

The last decade, in particular, has seen Nick Riff creating and releasing albums on his own and with his musical outfit of Freak Element that largely incorporates the space and time elements that have become a trademark of Riff’s music. Just recently, Nick Riff celebrated the release of his newest album entitled Photon Shift.

During the time in which Nick Riff has been creating his own material, he has alternated between creating music with a band and doing everything on his own. With the 2009 release of Photon Shift, Riff created all of the noises on the album (human and otherwise) on his own.
Photon Shift marks the third album in what Nick Riff is calling the “Riffdisc Series”. The releases in the Riffdisc Series are statements made by the musician that have to do with the counting down to the year 2012. As 2012 marks the year when the Ancient Mayans believed the world would come to an end, a majority of the songs in the “Riffdisc Series” (and especially Photon Shift) have to do with just that subject.
Photon Shift by Nick Riff encompasses many different points of view about the ominous year of 2012: There is the track of “Edge of Time,” which has to do with the end of time as we know it; the title track of “Photon Shift” has to do with the belief that a change of energy will bring a definite “shift” in the existence of life in the universe; and the track “Already Gone” has to do with the belief that only the believers in this “photon shift” phenomenon will be saved from the approaching change as they have been taken to safety by a higher life-force.
Having read a lot of information on the subject of 2012, Nick Riff uses the Riffdisc Series to inform as much as to entertain. Listening to his music, it is clear that Riff believes it is better to be safe than sorry. And “Photon Shift” blends the psychedelic music of Riff with his space-rock lyrics to create a unique listening experience.
For those who check out “Photon Shift” by Nick Riff, he is giving each listener a special offer: If you buy the album, Riff will also include another album as a special bonus. With Photon Shift, you will also receive a copy of Songs From Another Dimension, an album created by Nick Riff and keyboard player Peter Platten under Riff’s band moniker of Freak Element. Together, Photon Shift and Songs From Another Dimension add up to almost an hour and a half of music for the price of one CD. But the deal is good only until the limited edition CD of Songs From Another Dimension lasts.
To check out the music of Nick Riff and his music, go to You can also find him on MySpace at

1 Comment

  1. Thank you Matheson for your perspective of my music and the brief history as introduction. Very nice. After reading your review I feel I must make some adjustments to some of your statements in regards to the Riffdisc series and 2012. First, the Riffdisc series is not in any way entirely focused on 2012 and the end of the world. Each release in the series is a different theme. “Magick Museum” (001) is a compilation of limited edition and out of print music from my 90’s catalog. “The World’s Alive”(002) is with the band and deals with mind expansion, political views and alien encounters. “Photon Shift” (003) is the only release that focuses on the various concepts and beliefs existing today on the 2012 subject. Most based on my own observations and the study of works by Terrance McCenna and Zecharia Sitchen . The song Already Gone though has nothing to do with your discription. It is a true story that happened to me. Keep in mind that all this concept stuff is in the context of loud space rock and cosmic punk psychedelic music, so if you just want to party and roll around on the floor , that works too. Thanks for letting me tweek some statements, and thank you again Matheson for the great article !

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