There exists a sub-section of our community which isn’t strictly united around genre but more around the identity of those who produce the music an the ways in which they do that. I’m speaking, of course, of the guitar-centered solo musicians and their small yet tight circle. You can find names like Plini, Sithu Aye, James Norbert Ivanyi and more on this list, all collaborating on each other’s music and, at the very least, sharing social circles and fans. To this tight-knit group, we can now add the name of one Joel Lindfors, although in actuality his name had always been here. Active as Oceill up until now, Lindfors is a name you’d often see when perusing the Facebook/bandcamp accounts of the said group.
Thankfully, he’s now released a full length album titled Shift and hey, surprise, it’s amazing. From the first track it’s immediately apparent that Lindfors has his own style, drawn on plenty of the tropes of the solo musician but also exceeding them with a kind of fresh heaviness that’s inherently addictive. Couple that fact with some amazing guest spots (including blog darling, Clément Belio, weaving his usual jazz/choir magic, the aforementioned Sithu Aye, Stephen Taranto and more) and you get an album which goes too so many places. This is perhaps where Shift most stands out of the pack; these albums tend to have a very singular, very cohesive and often limited sound.
Shift however does many things with the same level of ease and skill. Where “Day One” is a bit heavier than per usual for the style, “Then What”, Belio’s contribution, is all happy frills and smooth sax. “Null Point”, featuring the by now thrice mentioned Sithu Aye, is more akin to Intervals, with its brightly lit nu prog sensibilities and blistering guitar solos. Further down the line, these nu prog frills will be capitalized on and reworked into the heavier sound, creating such engaging tracks as the “Drift/-4” pair.
All in all then, Shift counteracts much of what can be weak about a solo artist’s release by not only utilizing collaborations but also reflecting their wide range of influences right into Lindfors’ sound, showcasing the full variety of his composition, playing and production. Thus, it is an impressive achievement and one of the best works this little subset of our community has produced.