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Music to my Ears Podcast: Cosmo Sheldrake

BBC Music Magazine talks to musician, composer and producer Cosmo Sheldrake about the music of the natural world, the eclectic music of his childhood and why improvisation energises him

Published: August 12, 2021 at 8:20 am

This week, we chat to the multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Cosmo Sheldrake from his home in Dorset. True to form, he recorded his side of the conversation outdoors in the countryside, so there are quite a few birds and woodland creatures keeping us company throughout this episode. He explains how he records the most intimate, low-level sounds of animals, fungi, rain and even tree sap, and how he goes about recontextualising them in his music.

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He also tells us all about his musical childhood with his mother, who was trained in Mongolian overtone chanting and who had previously lived and travelled with the pioneering electronic composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Links to books and projects mentioned in the podcast:

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

The Mystic Spiral: Journey of the Soul by Jill Purce

Excavated Shellac: An Alternate History of the World’s Music by Dust to Digital

Smithsonian Folkways (ethnographic recordings and folk from around the world)

Listen to all the music featured in this episode on our Spotify playlist:

Music featured in this episode:

Cuckoo Song (Cosmo Sheldrake, Wake Up Calls)

Teo (Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain)

Wriggle (Cosmo Sheldrake, The Much Much How How and I)

Rich (Cosmo Sheldrake, Pelicans We)

How to download the Music to my Ears podcast

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Listen to Cosmo Sheldrake's recordings:

Wake Up Calls

The Much Much How How and I

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Authors

Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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