Cosmo Sheldrake Is Undescribable at Belgrave Music Hall, 24.11.18

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Legend has it that music has the power to transform the world around us and distil it into sweet audio joy. No other artist would slave through the US military sound bank to find the sound of a single bucktooth parrot fish for a beat, but that’s just Cosmo Sheldrake. Within him is a marvellous environmental brain who turns the beauties of the constantly changing Earth, going through the sixth wave of extinction, into a jumble of folk and eternal techno-esque loops.

Have you heard the story of a man who, alone with his box of tricks, got an audience to buzz around like flies seeking light after dark? Sirened onto stage by three Norwegian goddesses under the alias I See Rivers, Sheldrake adventured through a jungle of ‘(The) Moss’ and ‘Pelicans (We)’ along well-known recorded paths.  Stumbling across untouched land, he conjured improvised songs from thin air with only the help of his handy nose whistle, a tiny USB fan and the odd bit of throat-singing.

Swapping his stories at the start of every new journey, the audience was transfixed. A distant crash revealed its humble beginnings; be that a slab smashed in the heights of Snowdonia, or the sound of a shell-suited Bulgarian man clapping in a deserted part of Mexico.

We can all learn a thing, both many and a-few from Sheldrake’s perfectionist heart. Sometimes things go wrong, and paths have to be retraced, yet the humility of the music’s puppeteer meant that us swarming insects kept the ‘Wriggle’ going, as we knew full well that he would lead us down to an oasis of sound.

As we all disappeared into the cold night air, memories of Sheldrake’s pure talent and his Quangle Wangle songs will stay with us for a long time to come. I implore everyone to ‘Come Along’ next time Cosmo Sheldrake’s in tow. For what better escapism is there than a night exploring his fairy tale folktronica lands?

Jenny Pudney

Header image via FluxFM