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Tracks: Saudi Arabian Sheikh, On the Eastern Road, You are the Sunlight, Psalm of the Spheres, The Drivers, Scarlet, Children of the Tides (Part 1), Children of the Tides (Part 2), Fireflies, Sealed in Blood, Blinded by the Sun.

heliotricity scythes IV album cover



The depth Daniel is able to achieve with just a single nylon string guitar, his voice and poetry is astounding. With his wide range and agile falsettos his voice has been compared to Tim Buckley, who no doubt he was unconsciously channeling in the exquisite track "Helium". One hears hints of Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke, as well as Nick Drake at times. Visionary and timeless music from a unique and talented singer/songwriter at a particularly fascinating point in his continually unfolding artistic development…

Scythes IV has been said to be Shams' "Nebraska", with its spare arrangements and poetic depth. A number of the compositions having been written while he was living out of a 1985 Saab off the Panhandle in San Francisco, and developed while busking on the streets of SF, Berkeley and later performing for passerbys in the long corridors of the underground Metro subway stations in Madrid, Spain.

When not playing he was devouring the French Symbolist and Surrealist poetry of writers such as Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Apollinaire, as well as the Spanish poetry of Luis de Góngora, Miguel Hernández and Lorca. It was during this time period which he discovered the gypsy flamenco which would permanently alter the course of his life. Soon after he purchased a one way ticket to Spain. Scythes IV was recorded after he returned to the U.S., having spent all of his money after a year immersed in the mysterious art of flamenco. These would be the last the songs he would record before devoting himself entirely to flamenco music for the next 10 years.

"The compositions on Scythes IV sparkle like raw gems in the profound darkness of an unyielding night…" Wallace Blackie Gold - NY Now magazine

Night of Years, Black Doves, I Can See Venus, Hello Jonah, Saleh, Apparition, Ho Chi Minh City, This Corpse is Dancing, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Helium, Blinded by the Sun, Butterfly


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To read excerpts from his debut book of poetry and prose "CHAOS, THE CLOUDS, AND THE TONGUE".

Los Años Florecientes - Daniel Shams

¡Viva la Muerte! ¡Viva la Muerte!
Brotando en la nada como una sombra magnífica
Nacido antes que ningún sol

Hay nubes y golondrinas sobre mi terraza
Y arden con buenaventura, cantando
"¡Años floricientes te han encontrado!"

Ven a tomarme? Ven a tomarme?
“Demasiao temprano” dice el vendaval de moscas
Con un sombra larga y esquizofrenica
"Tan temprano" pensava la borracha en su cauce de vomita

y alrededor de ella náufragaron tulipánes,
tulipánes que quisieran unir todas las lenguas divididas
“Le ví la Muerte!” exclamó un murciélago invertido
"Bebiendo y bailando debajo las alas de un vendaval vivo
¡y me preguntaba de ti!"

Pero Levantando de su tumba antigua
La Plaga de 1836 sacudiendo su cabeza rara
le dijo ala Muerte “esta demasiao temprano,
Bajes tu guadaña de terror”

Es verdad que he vivido, Alimentao por limónes
Y tengo un limonerito ya en flor en mi jardin
Que crece mas débil cada día

¡Viva la Muerte! ¡Viva la Muerte!
“Dejale ser” dice el difunto
Empalao por los juncos sanguinarios

Ven a tomarme? Ven a tomarme?
“Basta ya! Dejadle cantar” le dice a la Muerte
La mendiga Gitana con ríos de perlas
Corriendo por sus venas

The Last and Greatest Poem of his Life - By Daniel Shams

flamenco detroit graphicIt was the last and greatest poem of his life. He was sitting outside the train station and all the tea leaves that ever were and ever were to be were speaking to him. They spoke to him long dry color drained in tongues rose leaf, darjeeling and chamomile, even those leaves not yet of tea still green too green too stiff to sift through a sieve manifested in tongues long and eloquent to his avid ears.

In the tenacious heat outside the train station dead thunderstorms were raining upwards while smashed hieroglyphs streamed like ancient jetties transporting sun after sun across his feverish consciousness. When he looked down he found his arm hairs had stiffened into long rows of sugar cane reeds and from his yawning pores he sweated pollen heavy bee feet and scuttling scarabs whose black bodies shone in tones irridescent blue and green in the streaming suns.

All the tea leaves were speaking to him and through them he knew the bees that they had known, knew draughts and plagues dating back centuries, he spoke in hibiscus, in lemon peel, fluent too he spoke in scarab, his tongue crawled backwards across an immense sky of throats. Somewhere a kettle whistled and then a cup of tea fell onto the floor and when it hit it shattered and the thin ceramic shards slid across a hard marble floor echoing in his ears shrill and sharp, then the shards hit the wall and suddenly shrapnel jagged and foreign jutted from his skull.

He kept writing, rhythms 5's, 6's, 7's and 12's were born on beads of sweat as they fell from his beard. He looked down and noticed his beard had grown a beard, and that beard had a beard, and that beard another, and every one of those beards had ears. And into those ears whispered tea leaves, tea leaves long defunct, long bagged and in vaporous drinks dunked. And their flavors emanated across his years, across his beards of beards and fanned his fertile feverish consciousness cooling his furrowed ancient brow.

Chamomile flowers sprouted in an unmarked tomb on his tongue and he knew there was little time. He swallowed some by accident, they tasted like candy and then his pen wrote in raw sugar. He pushed the foggy crystals around the page, they shone like glass eyes in the sun. He covered them carefully with wet rose petals and when they melted a sweet red sea flooded the street. He looked around, nobody seemed to notice.

A sudden gust of wind then blew one of his beards beards upwards and it bit him viciously on the tongue and he began to spit blood. Through the blood as it flew he could taste the air, he watched as a number of the droplets sprouted wings and split off from the rest rising like little rubicund bats, the others spattered generously the bleached leaves of his wrinkled notebook. Afterwards they began to coagulate, and once fully dried, little cracks creeped in from their deep crimson perimeters, it looked like the paper was wounded, like a grenade had gone off in its vicinity but just out of range splintering it with cuts and the blood had bloomed from the myriad shrapnel wounds.

And when he scratched away the dried blood with his splintered dirty fingernail underneath he found chapters beautiful writ in unusual letters scarlet running from right to left, meticulously sculpt. Leaning in to study them he found that upon being spied the mysterious characters glowed like uncanny coals live and moreover the phrases changed strangely each time over them passed his eye, metamorphosizing each time with a new rhyme yet maintaining their curious content all the while.

It was the last and greatest poem of his life and when he got to the final line he knew it was time. Hot vapour rose like ghosts from broken teacups and the sugar fount of his pen was nearly dry. He stopped then with a befuddled look, his masterpiece just one word from completion and realized that the final line lacked a rhyme.

All was quiet as perplexed he stroked his beards of beards searching for the rhyme. Even the tea leaves, all the tea leaves that ever had been, that ever were to be were silent. They all stayed that way for a moment. The word he was looking for was the word he had looked for all his life. He had been told that it did not exist.

Suddenly a look of astonishment overtook his tired face, and he gasped as it came to him. And all the tea leaves that ever had been and ever were to be, and each and every one of his beards with their beards, the pollen footed heavy bees, the scarlet winged spit bats, and the sun toting sweat scarabs all crowded around him eager with anticipation to see what the word was as the smiling poet leaned in pen in hand to finish the work. But before he could press the pen to the paper he suddenly expired and collapsed there in the street outside the train station.

Various people passed by the smiling old man not realizing he was dead until later an old gypsy woman pushing a small cart selling hot tea to passers by in the street who had known him came by and saw that he had died. And parking her cart slowly, she pondered him for a moment, then picked up his slouched body, dusted him off and leaned him up against the wall.

He had often visited her while she worked and would always recite his most recent poems to her which would always give her great joy. Then blessing him, she got up and poured them both a cup of steaming tea and added sugar. The steaming vapours rose from their plastic cups like feverish ghosts.

And while they sat there quiet together it was then she noticed his notebook and the unfinished poem. She picked it up and read the first line and smiled. She knew it by heart, and she recited it to him out loud, it was the same unfinished poem he had written all his life.

Written 3.25.10 on a train through the desert between Luxor and Aswan

Not All Grapes Go To Wine- by D.Sha(ms)

"cuyo diente
no perdonó a racimo, aun en la frente
de Baco..."

Luis de Góngora

Not all grapes smashed go to wine,
not so easily themselves do they find
In elegant nasal gardens with cigar and caviar hue entwined

No, not all grapes smashed go to wine,
some remain simply to imbue already purple toes
with a shade rosier hue
and never to cosy guts ever go
In fact some when smashed herald little juice
would hardly infuse the slightest rosy warmth bacchanalian

Some are grown in spoiled soil and so being
feel that they and they alone are somehow above toil
others by the moleish virtue of some peculiar flaw
having taken corruption from its aggressive constituents
are deemed refuse at birth, unfit for lawful use
banished from potential realms of mythological mirth
and doomed to dead dreams of gilded goblets and regal nosehairs

Others stubborn and unpatriotic refuse to employ their superdoted
(and consequently overdoted upon) graces
in favor of the country, region or vineyard
in which they were deployed
and squish not under foot

Others splash exceedingly when smashed
and mix badly with virile elements agile

Some are smashed on the vine, born wine you could say
inseparable from the leaves in which they are twined
From the soil and sun from which their nutrients sprung

Indeed great grapes spread a truly luxurious divan
So much so as to incite certain seeking souls
not only to abandon the suicide alternative
but in spite of themselves upon experiencing them to exlaim
“Tarry yet, though art so fair!” to the fleeting glorious moment...

Others break bottle after bottle seeking a solution
in which their hue could hide
Some grapes were made only to paint a blackbirds beak
Others smashed were simply weak
Because grapes great make slaves of your feet
then make slaves of even the most distinguished elite
Extinguishing the feeble fires
underneath any lengthy treaty on practical reason
Which is to say they just might flourish in your gypsy brain
like nights endless going to weeks that culminate in years

Grapes great seek great oceans to taint
Great rich bellies to paint

Aspire to launch their aromas and lounge
in lush and reknowned international gardens
Said aromas can be found socializing
in sophisticated French nosehairs,
Can be found exercising their uncanny art
in dense cigar thick capitalistic lairs
atop even the quivering weaves of vintage 1960s Italian orange and olive green mohair cardigan sweaters
bedecking recklessly the amorous night bedroom floor of a decadent Parisienne flat

Great grapes make to dance the atoms of a fine woman's brain
make bloom the tinkering thinkers subterranean refrain
into an unexpected romance

Great grapes make the dead to dance
to spring from the gap in the connoiseurs teeth
unsheathing their ancient saavy swords to spar
as far as in defunct russian tzars olfactory gardens

Let them slay! You would say just to see them,
Let them play! You would say, just to see them Let them play, newlywed upon old Bacchus’ brow
That’s what great grapes do!

But not all great grapes go to wine, its said
some sleep endless on an invisible vine
basking in the warmth divine of an eternal sun
never to be found by anyone!

And contrary to popular belief,
not all great grapes ought to be tasted
need not be wasted on pretentious whims or rich fools’ lips
which is to say some grapes are inimitable treasures,
not passing pleasures

Great grapes light subaquatic monkey fires in a neanderthal brain
make to suddenly rain smoldering phoenix feathers
in an isolated artic circle expanse

Great grapes speak in leagues paint Hermes boots
Paint a deep blue midnight a savory purple
Seed an elegant pageant upon a mute mutt tongue
Breed a broad banquet of astros
upon diligent buds unsuspecting

Great grapes smash again and again
upon the remote recesses of ones brain
bearing new gypsy frontiers
Savage yet refined,
resurrecting ancient olfactory sensation
impossible to define
mined explicitly from the uncanny sap
of Bacchus' legendary and lost noble brow.

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"There are as many paths to god as there are souls in this universe..."
Sufi quote