Slow Sound | Cosmo Sheldrake

At TOAST, we aspire to a slower, more thoughtful way of life.

Following this philosophy, we have created Slow Sound – a series of soundscapes designed to calm, reset and enliven the mind.

This season, we look to the natural world and our inner connection and response to the wild that surrounds us. By forging a closer relationship with our environment we embrace a natural state of equilibrium, one that's alive and full of dynamism with the push and pull of nature.

Musician Cosmo Sheldrake has composed and produced three tracks exclusively to TOAST Slow Sound. Working to our seasonal theme of Rewilding, Cosmo has gathered field recordings taken from nature. From bioelectrical activity in plants and fungi, and hydrophone recordings of plant roots to endangered birds and the sound of an Indonesian coral reef regenerating.

"It's quite clear that every part of our world needs rewilding - the air, the soil, the waterways and oceans," says Cosmo. "I've been making music from fish, whales and ocean sounds and also from airborne birds, bats and insects, so it naturally fell into these three subdivisions of air, soil and ocean," he adds.

Each of the soundscapes works as a standalone piece to bring you to a peaceful, meditative state. Together, the three tracks work in harmony with each other to address the topic of rewilding and help focus the mind with positive sounds from nature we may otherwise miss. "With these tracks, I wanted to create a sense of vibrancy and aliveness of a healthy, cacophonous, polyphonic ecosystem."

Air, Soil and Ocean form our new series for Slow Sound to listen, enjoy and share.



Air features a cacophony of endangered birds - from a skylark, nightingale, short eared owl and little owl to a ring ouzel, cuckoo, some bees and a number of different kinds of bat.

Composed using a mixture of sounds, some of which are recordings of bioelectrical activity in plants and fungi, some are hydrophone recordings of plant roots and other insects stridulating. The melodic sounds are made from recordings of clay and earth pots, some of which were crackling fresh from the kiln.

Sounds from freshwater ecosystems. Over the course of this track a bleached coral reef slowly transforms into a recording of a healthy regenerated reef in Indonesia. A humpback whale can be heard quietly in the background, while the weddell seal sings more prominently, making a glissando sound towards the end of the track. Also featured: a buck toothed parrot fish, an oyster toadfish, long horned sculpins, red drum fish, black drum fish, bearded seals, the sound of Norwegian cod breeding and the sound of the snapping shrimp.

About Cosmo Sheldrake

Cosmo is a multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer from London who resides with his wife Flora in a converted chapel in Gloucestershire. He collects and plays a variety of instruments including the bass clarinet, Mongolian double bass and sousaphone. Cosmo’s music is often inspired by nature and incorporates field recordings taken at dawn and dusk of bats, birds, insects, plants and fungi along with sounds from the ocean.

Cosmo released his first single 'The Moss' in 2014, which was followed by the 'Pelicans We' EP in 2015 and his debut album, 'The Much Much How How and I' in April 2018.

Cosmo has collaborated with Bernie Kruase at The Great Animal Orchestra exhibition at Fondation Cartier in Paris and in 2019 he released a series of Wake up Calls, pieces composed entirely from recordings of endangered British birds.

He has toured internationally, composed music for film and theatre. Find more of Cosmo's music on his website.

All photographs by Tami Aftab.

Listen again

Our 2020 Slow Sound with musicians and sound designers Leon Jean-Marie and Christin Rauter followed the shape of the seasons, taking us from the murmurings of spring through to the lazy days of summer, the turning of autumn and the deep hum of winter. The fifth track, titled Earth, was grounding.