Unique: Cosmo Sheldrake
I have something to confess. Cosmo Sheldrake has had my heart in a Schrödinger Box for a while now, and I want you to know why.
Firstly, his name is entirely legit. More importantly, his music is unlike anything I have ever encountered. Blisteringly fresh, and vociferously zingy, are not words enough to describe his masterpieces in which he combines the out of this world with the down to earth, literally. Take ‘The Fly’, for example, where he used the sounds of solar oscillations recorded over 2 months, sped up 50,000 times, combined with the Aka Pygmy tribe in Central Africa, with a finishing touch of smashing Welsh mountain slates. And because that’s obviously not complicated enough, here he is producing it live on a fishing boat hunting for cuttlefish on the English Channel, or from the back of a horse and cart in Bulgaria. He’s also sampled the cracking bones of a cow carcass, rabid dogs, and the Armenian Duduks. Oh, and because he can he’s also recorded music live in a pig sty, or at a laundrette. I’m not sure that there’s an instrument that he cannot play, I mean, have you ever heard of a sousaphone? I haven’t. He can play 30 different instruments at least. Jealous yet?
I find myself relishing every moment of every song, listening to it over and over, hearing something new each time. Finding relationships between one song and the next, and comparing the nuances. I can’t help myself from clicking and tapping to the beat, and swaying from side to side with a look of concerned enthusiasm across my face.
His other talents include beatboxing, Mongolian throat singing, Tibetan chanting, and making music up spontaneously at live gigs, lyrics and all. Near the end of the concert that I just linked you to (at 49 minutes), he describes how he used the sounds of the Oyster Toadfish and Bucktooth Parrotfish, so that you know that I am not making this stuff up. Often he includes literature by Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear in his music.
He comes across as being humble, impassioned and compellingly creative; in his spare time he teaches and facilitates music workshops and camps. But he also has the time to compose for film and theatre. A lover of nonsense, who knows where he’ll end up next. Definitely keep an ear out though, there are rumours that he will have his first release out in the next month or two, when I am sure that many more hearts will be joining mine in his box.