Cosmo Sheldrake at XOYO
A bonkers but brilliant set by Cosmo Sheldrake at East London’s young but acclaimed XOYO last night revealed the instrumentalist-cum-producer to be in a highly skilled, inspirational class of his own.
Cosmo Sheldrake weaves the talents of composer, producer and multi-instrumental performer into a bold, one-man band. Fresh from the release of his first album Pelicans We, his appearances this year have met with huge critical and audience acclaim. His profile epitomises the “too clean cut to rock” criticism often thrown at young musicians by the likes of the Gallagher brothers, however what he produces live is in reality a hyper intelligent, multi-art form melting pot of a party.
Sheldrake takes the notion of multi-instrumentalist to orchestral dimensions: over the course of the set he plays over 30 instruments, melding them into progressive rhythms and continuums of sound using a loop section. These impressively and intrepidly included a digeridoo, used as a cross between a groove-setter and an ambient drone, and later, an eerie, mesmerising riff produced on what appears to be wet fish. He is a self-styled Peter Pan of electronic music – his lyrics gleaned from nonsense poetry through to children’s books. More than just a compelling live musician, at the age of just 25 his commissions have already included soundtracks for stylised productions at the Young Vic last year.
The danger with this level of experimentalism is that it descends into a rainforest of quirky sounds that are equal parts unintelligible and forgettable. However avant-garde the East London music crowd would like to be, on a balmy Thursday night with temperatures soaring, everyone is essentially there to party. Sheldrake’s set whirls a mass of dance vibes alongside a mesmerising performance to watch, which will make him a sure favourite on the festival circuit this summer (he is played Blissfields this weekend). The likes of musical collective royalty Arcade Fire consistently hit the sweet spot between frenetic jazz-improvisation and crowd-moving anthems that feel part protest, part confessional to a gig goer. Sheldrake would be very at home among them. His set pushes the limits of experimentalism to astronomical excellence, yet it is his catchy chorus to The Fly the crowd take away with them, still singing and buzzing from his artistry into the night.
For further information about Cosmo Sheldrake and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Pelicans We here: