Cosmo Sheldrake
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Cosmo Sheldrake

London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Electronic Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Singer, beatboxer, multi-instrumentalist, film and TV composer and now writer of quirky would-be novelty hits"

The background:
We were chatting the other day to Jean Jacques Burnel of the Stranglers, as you do, and he was saying that in pop and rock circles they/we (fans and critics) love a noble savage, and it's true. But they/we love a brainbox, too. Cosmo Sheldrake falls more into the latter category. Not that we've met him. We're basing it on information, and his music. He just sounds clever, albeit a whimsical kind of intelligence, something we've gleaned from his lyrics - which reference Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll and talk about everything from the way moss grows on the north side of trees to what it's like to be a fly - and the melodies, which exude waggish mischief. If it's authentic blue-collar rage you're after, you've come to the wrong place.

Sheldrake is a 24-year-old composer and producer who has written for film and theatre (he's currently composing the music for a series of Beckett plays at the Young Vic), and variously runs vocal improv and beatboxing workshops, "youth empowerment and wilderness camps" (no, us neither), and a community choir in Brighton. He's also a multi-instrumentalist, and we don't say "multi" lightly: he plays about 30 instruments, including jazz and classical piano, banjo, double bass, drums, didgeridoo, penny whistle and sousaphone. And he uses a loop station to do interesting things to his voice, which itself is capable of Mongolian throat singing and Tibetan chanting. As you can imagine, he's quite a character. He recently returned from New York, where he studied vocal improvisation with Bobby Mcferrin, and gave a performance at TEDx, a spin-off of TED, the global technology/ideas foundation that organises conferences by and for cerebral types. It was entitled Interspecies Collaboration and featured him making lots of strange animal sounds with his mouth and Mac. Steve Jobs would have been proud.

He might be a bit quirky for mass, mainstream consumption but there will clearly be room for him, at the very least, as the eccentric attraction at festivals (he's on the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition longlist), and he could prove light relief for indie bands - he's already supported Johnny Flynn and Bombay Bicycle Club. But a novelty hit isn't out of the question. His debut single The Moss - recorded at a folk session in a country pub in East Sussex - might be a bit Jabberwocky but Sheldrake makes it an engaging folky oddity: think Mumford and Sons if they didn't sound as though they'd been designed by marketing men at M&S. It's a lovely little lullaby with sweet strings and wondrous woodwind (that'll be the Duduk), an effective beat and affecting melody. We haven't heard the B-side, Solar, but we do know it's "composed from recordings of the Sun, taped using a technique called Stellar Seismology" and "features field recordings of Ecuadorian flutes and singing from the Central African Aka Pigmies." The Fly is charmingly strange yet strangely folk-funky, all hummable clicks and claps, sung by Sheldrake in the guise of the titular insect. And watch out for the chorus: "If I am a happy fly, if I live or if I die, then I am a happy fly, if I live or if I die." Once heard, you'll be singing it all day.

The buzz:
"He perceives the daily world around him… definitely with a child-like curiosity and wonder but also with a fair measure of genius."

The truth:
Don't swat him away.

Most likely to:
Bug you (in a good way).

Least likely to: Be repellant.

What to buy:
The Moss is released on 21 April through paradYse/Transgressive.

File next to:
Syd Barrett, Jilted John, Steeleye Span, Darwin Deez.

Links: - The Guardian

"Oliver Arnoldi introduces a young musical visionary"

Who is he?
Cosmo Sheldrake, amazingly his real name, is a 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer from Hampstead, London. He attracted hype from the blogosphere after the release of his debut EP in April, and has toured with American electropop outfit Sylvan Esso and Johnny Flynn.

How did he get here?
Aged four, he learned piano by ear, followed by blues piano at seven. Since then, Sheldrake has been collecting instruments every year: "I now have around 30". After receiving a Roland keyboard and an 8 track recorder in his mid teens, he began to experiment in electronic production, using heavy sampling of field recordings, which became the cornerstone of his music. Sheldrake has recorded live performances of his songs in a Brighton launderette, a pig-sty, and Bekonscot Model Village. If you've never seen someone beat away at a sampler on a fishing boat, covered in cuttlefish ink, now's your chance.

What does he sound like?
Floating between the acoustic sampling of early Bonobo and something altogether more whimsical, Sheldrake is difficult to place. He is wary to label himself, too, describing his music as a "collage that rehashes, chops up and recombines a variety of sounds". A fan of looping and a seasoned practitioner of improvised performance, listen out for hints of the Armenian duduk and the cracking bones of a cow carcass. Perhaps not an artist for animal rights activists, but an infectious, original sound nonetheless.

Who are his influences?
Sheldrake's influences are as eclectic as his music. He's a fan of nonsense poetry, "especially that of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear", whose literature is found in his lyrics. His mother, who Sheldrake considers a formative musical influence, is a teacher of Mongolian overtone chanting. He loves English folk song and recently, ethnographic recordings, as a result of studying anthropology. He's also "still reeling" from an improvisation workshop with vocalist Bobby McFerrin last summer: "he's a wonderful man".

What's next?
Sheldrake is working on a project with his long-time collaborator Rubin Woodin Dechamps to make four music videos tracing London's lost rivers, wherever they may be. He's also trying to track down sounds of extinct animals with recordist Bernie Krause for some new tracks. If his past is anything to go by, Sheldrake's future is set to be unique. - The Telegraph

"Watch Cosmo Sheldrake Play ‘Pelicans We’ in a Budapest Bathhouse"

British multi-instrumentalist Cosmo Sheldrake likes to perform his electro-folk songs in strange, strange places — a working laundrette, the middle of a tiny model village, and the back of a horse-drawn cart in a Bulgarian village, to name a few. But the hard-to-define 25-year-old said his latest video, for the title track off of his EP Pelicans We, was the most difficult.

Filmed in the middle of a functioning thermal bath in Budapest, Sheldrake had to keep his equipment from getting wet and work around locals who merely wanted to have a soak. “Not only was it a logistical nightmare,” the video’s description reads, “but the team were only allowed one take.” Luckily, they got what they were looking for, as Sheldrake’s off-kilter samples and funky spins on more organic genres were highlighted by the unique scenery. Plus, imagine the acoustics! Check out the video for “Pelicans We” here, and stream Sheldrake’s entire EP via SoundCloud. - Spin


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Currently at a loss for words...

Band Members