Kafih (Hustlin’) 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, Kafih 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 psyche, unexpectedly unleashing a honeyed hive of hips, blooming with bees. 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”
You get the sense 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 Sharazad 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.