Daniel Shams of Heliotricity

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Heliotricity music releases

About Heliotricity

The depth Daniel Shams of Heliotricity is able to achieve with his guitar, 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.

It is a voice agile and aspiring, reaching for the universal, the common threads connecting all people. You get the sense also of an urgency listening to Daniel, a striving that reveals a relentlessness in his pursuit of an immediate, articulate and pure expression. The result is that his recordings then are more like raw jewels excavated from deep fissures, they aren’t overly polished and pretty in the sense some people prefer. They are the real thing. All you have to do is listen to the soaring chorus falsettos of “Blinded by the Sun” where he wails “I’ve been…I’ve been blinded by the sun” to know that Daniel Shams is the real thing.

And when he sings of love, it is not to a woman, it is to all women. It is as if the great Sibyls are resurrected at once, and one hears him with the ears of Dante’s Beatrice, Faust’s Gretchen or Shahrazad from the Arabian Nights. When one listens they live love for that instant. When he sings “to live, to love, I want to be reborn every instant” through Daniel and his Heliotricity we do these things.

Music Releases

Posthumous Heliotricity

Posthumous HeliotricityPosthumous Heliotricity is the second of two highly anticipated and visionary full length recordings by Daniel Shams in over 10 years. After the recording of “Scythes IV” in 2004 Daniel essentially disappeared from the music community, living in Spain and Egypt devoting himself entirely to the mysterious art of gypsy flamenco.

This stunning set of original recordings with it’s infectuous rhythms, captivating melodies and compelling lyrics is nothing short of astonishing. The recordings are ecstatic, warm and familiar, yet unlike anything you’ve ever heard. The compositions shine, as if they were somehow lit from the inside.

Similar to Scythes IV, Daniel’s poetry strays fearlessly into deeper and often darker waters, bordering on the mystic. In “To Gold” when he sings “I have never known you quite like this…beloved, everything is beautiful now, I am swimming in you…” you don’t know if it is being sung from the perspective of someone recently deceased, newly born, or one in some ecstatic state of consciousness in which they are unified with something greater. One thing is for certain, Posthumous Heliotricity is unlike anything you have ever heard or ever will hear again.

“A revelation…”
–Wallace Blackie Gold

1/3/2020

كافح

Heliotricity Kafihكافح is the highly anticipated first full length recording by Daniel Shams since Scythes IV, after essentially disappearing from the music community for years, living in Spain and Egypt devoting himself entirely to the mysterious art of gypsy flamenco.

Daring, and soulful, كافح is full of rich grooves and intricate rhythms. At times the percussion sounds like a flamenco dancers feet, or a tabla players fingertips are tapping out the coordinates to undiscovered and savage latitudes in your hips. Daniel’s guitar sounds like it is speaking in tongues at times, spitting quadruplets and sextuplets atop a lush canopy of rhythm, while his agile voice navigates accents within an eloquent prose above and around it carving out unique and indelible lines.

“Apples are oranges, are boysenberries posing as poison berries
catching z’s, dreaming of bees,
as indubitably I too would be,
were I in such close proximity to the lavish curvature of your lips.
To the allure of your honey hive hips,
Which is to say that said lips
and the aforementioned heart shaped hips honey hived
subvert occasionally the dominant paradigm
Governing a man’s ability to sensibly speak”

“Ana a’wez tzcara ila wa owda Escandries, 5 stars!”
–Yerbouti Iz’Myn
1/2/2020

Scythes IV

heliotricity scythes IV album coverThe depth Daniel Shams of Heliotricity 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.

Heliotricity 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…”
A’isha Ibn Ali

Blinded by The Sun

heliotricity imageThe simplicity of the music that flows so seemingly effortlessly out of Daniel Shams of Heliotricity is at times disarming, take the music from Scythes IV for example, how that with just a single nylon string guitar, his poetry and voice he is able to deliver us past the barrage of barriers and propel us into the rich collective consciousness, unifying us in a suspended state of enhanced awareness, an ecstasy.

Compare that then to the various lush, layered compositions making up Heliotricity Blinded By The Sun, like the title track, or “You are the Sunlight” where vocal melodies and guitar textures are woven into a lush and rhythmic aural tapestry, the result is simply sublime.

In Daniel’s voice one hears echoes of the late Tim Buckley, Thom Yorke and Lenny Kravitz woven into the fabric of rich driving grooves. It is a voice agile and aspiring, reaching for the universal, the common threads connecting all people. You get the sense also of an urgency listening to Daniel, a striving that reveals a relentlessness in his pursuit of an immediate, articulate and pure expression.

The result is that his recordings then are more like raw jewels excavated from deep fissures, they aren’t overly polished and pretty in the sense some people prefer. They are the real thing. All you have to do is listen to the soaring chorus falsettos of “Blinded by the Sun” where he wails “I’ve been…I’ve been blinded by the sun” to know that Daniel Shams of Heliotricity is the real thing. And when he sings of love, it is not to a woman, it is to all women. It is as if the great Sibyls are resurrected at once, and one hears him with the ears of Dante’s Beatrice, Faust’s Gretchen or Shahrazad from the Arabian Nights. When one listens they live love for that instant. When he sings “to live, to love, I want to be reborn every instant” through Daniel and his Heliotricity we do these things.

A Collection of Beatles and Spiders

Heliotricity a collection of Beatles and SpidersThese early recordings from Daniel Shams shimmer with a vibrant intensity, providing unique insight into one of today’s most visionary songwriters. These sparce recordings were done mostly on in inexpensive Vestax analog 6-track recorder with just a shure SM58 microphone. Some of Daniel’s earliest compositions are featured such as the driving and rhythmic bathe, a collection of beatles and spiders, and the haunting Mother I. The song logic, was Shams’ tribute to a local band in Providence Rhode Island named “Feral Logic” whose music deeply moved him. The song sounds like gears, or machinery…Daniel apparently recorded one of the guitar parts with an unplugged electric Stratocaster.

In the song Daedalus with its otherworldy falsetto chorus where he sings “mother hold me…nourish my life…” you can hear how even in these early years he was already exploring a vocal expression which blurred the boundaries of sexuality and social stereotypes. Similar in a way he would find later in singers such as Craig Wedren from Shudder to Think, Jeff Buckley, Tim Buckley and others.

“I’m crying right now”
-Doreen Barker
2/17/2016

Posthumous Heliotricity

Posthumous Heliotricity is the second of two highly anticipated and visionary full length recordings by Daniel Shams in over 10 years. After the recording of “Scythes IV” in 2004 Daniel essentially disappeared from the music community, living in Spain and Egypt devoting himself entirely to the mysterious art of gypsy flamenco.

Heliotricity Kafih

Daring, and soulful, كافح is full of rich grooves and intricate rhythms. At times the percussion sounds like a flamenco dancers feet, or a tabla players fingertips are tapping out the coordinates to undiscovered and savage latitudes in your hips…

heliotricity scythes IV album cover

Scythes IV is the fourth full length recording by Daniel Shams. His voice, delivery and the depth of his poetry often draws comparisons to Tim and Jeff Buckley.

heliotricity image

Download Album

Blinded by the Sun is the third full length recording by Heliotricity. In contrast to the stark simplicity of Scythes IV, rich, layered compositions make up Blinded by the Sun.

Heliotricity a collection of Beatles and Spiders

A Collection of Beatles and Spiders is the first full length recording by Heliotricity.

Daniel Shams Poetry Chaos Clouds Tongues image

Chaos, Clouds and The Tongue is a collection of the poetry of Daniel Shams.

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Daniel Shams of Heliotricity performing Helium from the album Scythes IV

Daniel Shams of Heliotricity performing “Helium” from the album Scythes IV. The compositions on this extraordinary album were recorded after Daniel moved back to the states from an extended period of time living in Sevilla, Spain, having spent all of his money after a year immersed in the mysterious art of flamenco.

These would be the last songs he would record before devoting himself entirely to flamenco music for the next 10 years.



Heliotricity clouds

WHAT IS HELIOTRICITY?

Heliotricity is a musical entity founded by the prolific musician/artist/poet/scholar Daniel Shams in the early 90’s.
Daniel originally conceived the word Heliotricity by fusing “Helio” meaning having to do with the sun with “tricity” which suggested electricity.

In an interview he stated it had to do with the balance and fusion of natural and man made forces. As one might suspect, various corporations have latched onto the word Heliotricity which Daniel originally conceived, conveniently associating it with solar energy among other things.



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

© 2043


Heliotricity in reverse




“Ana a’wez tzcara ila wa owda Escandries, hal youmkin aQul ghoubz mA enta fee Masr, lkan atakalm Ala al ghoubz hoa shutta Awi! Khatr al mout, insha’allah!”
–Yertitz R’Myn
1/2/2020


SITE LAST UPDATED 3/6/83