Two years ago we introduced London-based musician and producer Cosmo Sheldrake and his first ep Pelican We. He released his first full-length The Much Much How How & I in 2018. Now he is back with a new album called Wake Up Calls. According to the press release, it was created over a nine year period, using recordings of bird song featured on the red and amber lists of endangered British birds (with the exception of a Robin and a Blackbird, which aren’t endangered – yet).
The album starts at night with a Nightjar and a Nightingale. The music progresses, track by track, through dawn and day time, round to the evening chorus and back to night with another Nightingale and an Owl. Cuckoo Song, is composed by Benjamin Britten and features the sound of a Cuckoo singing above Britten’s grave in Aldeburgh Cemetery, recorded by the soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause.
The project has slowly changed over the years. Some of the pieces started as Christmas presents for friends and family. The presents were intended as alarm clock music, in the hope that they might help people wake up in the morning without the anger often inspired by traditional alarm sounds. They worked well, but had a slightly unintended side effect. Everyone who used them reported that they had become increasingly sensitised to the sound of the dawn chorus and would often wake up at the slightest sound of bird song.
Check the full streaming below.