The 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