Cosmo Sheldrake – The Much Much How How and I
Cosmo Sheldrake's debut album, with its many hidden corners, is worth taking several trips into
Cosmo Sheldrake (that is, incredibly, his birth name) may be forgiven the rather obtuse title to his debut LP when its contents are this damn interesting. Sheldrake is a craftsman: a multi-instrumentalist composer, loop station maestro, beatboxer and vocalist extraordinaire; he’s an academic in the most complimentary sense. Words used to describe his early output – words like ‘quirky’ and ‘whimsical’ – do a disservice to the talents of a producer so qualified.
Such words seem well aimed even on The Much Much How How and I, whose baroque waltzes and storybook lyricism paint Sheldrake as ostentatiously weird. But the album is a deep and entrancing journey, given the chance, and his mastery of style and composition means its rich, hidden corners might take a few listens to uncover.
Though a fan of digital manipulation, the bulk of Sheldrake’s first album is densely instrumental. You can hear the creaks and strains of old equipment (Linger Longer), while whole orchestras erupt into raucous, jazzy parades (Come Along, Hocking). And all the ambient sounds (trains; applause; bubbling water) plop you right into another world.
His own vocal sits atop these scenic backdrops, crooning curious poetry, but never being as much of a scene-stealer as British-Moroccan singer Bunty on mid-record sidestep Mind of Rocks. Her lush harmonies wash over Sheldrake’s humid, insectoid beats like a tropical breeze. It’s one of many transportive vignettes on offer; it’s worth taking several trips into TMMHHAI to discover the rest.
Listen to: Come Along, Mind of Rocks, Hocking