YOU GOTTA HEAR THIS: Cosmo Sheldrake

If the visionary London-based multi-instrumentalist isn’t on your radar yet, he should be.

When I first heard Cosmo Sheldrake back in 2015, I categorized his music in my mind as esoteric indietronic. As I discovered more, I began thinking of his classical sensibilities as new-baroque. I recently had the opportunity to see him live, and now I can’t help but think of what the multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer is doing as some new form of folk. I’ll call it electrofolksical.

All this is to say that Sheldrake —who released his debut full-length, The Much Much How How, last year—straddles musical boundaries. His diverse musical influences are carefully crafted into a sound that’s encompassing, compelling, referential and, yes, new.

His live performance is part lecture, part field recording/sampling lesson, part electronic DJ set, part coffeehouse folk singer. He combines all of this into a seamless, funny, contemplative and danceable show. His videos are well worth a watch too as they find him performing in unexpected places, like a commercial fishing boat, a swimming pool, a laundromat and a horse-drawn carriage traveling through the rustic countryside.

He might start a tune by introducing the birds he’s recorded in some far-flung location and the pig who makes a great bass sound as he triggers said sounds from his MIDI controllers. He’ll then begin tapping out live beats and melodies, looping them into complex compositions, the sections of which he mixes in and out while singing and playing gorgeous melodies on a tiny keyboard.

Whether he’s composing music to accompany William Blake lyrics, scoring Samuel Beckett plays or collaborating with the Deep Throat Choir, one thing’s clear: this young, creative artist has a bright future. I’ll be eagerly awaiting what’s next from him.