Music Reviews
Cosmo Sheldrake

Cosmo Sheldrake

Eye to the Ear

Tardigrade

The work of English singer, producer, composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Cosmo Sheldrake is difficult to label with a genre. Sheldrake’s Eye to the Ear includes songs ranging from classical choral compositions (“The Feet are the Link”), to electronica made from birdsong (“Shiny Is the View”), to the entirely indescribable (“The Snapping of Shrimp,” which is set to the sounds of a regenerating coral reef).

Eye to the Ear is Sheldrake’s second full-length album, coming six years after The Much Much How How and I. His works share themes of symbiosis and environmentalism and make heavy use of horn ensembles. While the two are the same in many ways, the new album showcases more slow, contemplative tracks and explorations of different sounds and genres. “Breathe Round Corners” is one of my favorites, an uncharacteristically somber song about environmental destruction set to the calls of endangered birds.

The most interesting parts of Sheldrake’s music are his samples, which are from Sri Lankan frogs, a humpback whale, a longhorn sculpin (?), snapping shrimp, blacksmiths, and 15 golf balls bouncing on a wooden floor, among many other things. His environmentalist themes are informed by scientific expeditions he has taken with his biologist brother, Merlin, to far flung places — the samples in the track “Lichens” were taken in the location of the collection of a new species of psychedelic mushroom in Ecuador (plus there seems to be some “magic” influence on the album as a whole, if you are into that kind of thing).

My favorite tracks are “Does the Swallow Dream of Flying,” “Marvelous Clouds,” and “Breathe Round Corners.” Eye to the Ear is perfect if you are tired of music that focuses on the human experience and need something relevant to listen to on Earth Day.

Cosmo Sheldrake


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