From the overheated bridge of an Indonesian patrol boat on the South China Sea, New York Times journalist Ian Urbina wrote up his notes from the day. Against the sound of the crashing waves, an exhausted Urbina turned to a playlist of ambient music to help him focus - one that included Time from Hans Zimmer’s score for the 2010 film Inception. That was the moment that The Outlaw Ocean Music Project was born.
According to Urbina, musicians and journalists are both storytellers - leveraging either sound or prose to make their point. The end goal is the same: to bring a focus, using art as the medium, on aspects of life that are both hidden and difficult to uncover. Musicians and journalists are both pioneers in this way. That cerebral connection is part of what led Urbina to launch, about a year ago, his venture The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, which we have covered before - here and here. Ian Urbina and his team recruit creators from around the world to produce original electronic music that explores the link between art, humanity, and the oceans that sustain us. This month brings us a fresh lineup of sonic treats brought to us by indie artists from around the world.
Raden Angger Dimas Riyanto, professionally known as Angger Dimas, is an Indonesian electronic musician, DJ and music producer from Jakarta. Angger started playing guitar at age 7 and first became active in the Jakarta club scene in 2009. He is the #1 DJ in Indonesia according to thedjlist.com. His track "Columbus" from the EP "Native" begins as a vintage newscast set to an ambient groove, and quickly evolves into a thumping dance-floor classic. A big melody and bold dynamic breaks make this an energetic and rhythmic mix of styles ranging from dub to techno.
Founded in Vienna, Austria during 2014, Their Dogs Were Astronauts is an instrumental progressive metal project fronted by Denis and Leonard Roth. These charismatic and eclectic brothers merge groove-laden prog with assorted electronic flavors, and on "Finders Keepers" they present a musical odyssey of epic proportion, with equally ferocious performances on electric guitar and drum-set. Jagged, foot-tapping riffs, heavy distortion, and double-time rhythmic insanity make "Finders Keepers" a complex experience of soaring melodic counterpoint. Citing influences across the genres of classical, jazz and fusion to prominent modern acts such as "Animals As Leaders", "TesseracT" and "Periphery", Their Dogs Were Astronauts is a complex and genre-defying outfit.
First Light Circus is the ambient inspiration of German multi-instrumentalist and music producer Jon Winterstein. By mixing natural sounds with lush synthesizers and ambient electronic grooves, Winterstein creates a living soundscape that is as beautiful as it is enigmatic. "A Dystopian Place" is both soothing and unsettling, as the voice of Ian Urbina warns us about the cost of doing nothing.
Destroying the world is now seen as just the cost of doing business. — Ian Urbina
The uncomfortable truth that Ian Urbina has dedicated the last year to putting a spotlight on is simply that we, as consumers, are partly to blame for the environmental crimes and human-rights abuses that so often occur away from the spotlight. The ocean hides our own complicity as we reap the benefits of a global supply chain while having no visibility into the hidden costs and inhumane activity that come with it. The Ocean Outlaw Project was built to create awareness around this important issue, and to create a space for independent journalism to shed light on these questionable practices. For too long we have looked away, collectively, as our oceans are abused and exploited, day after day, in the corners of the world.
The Outlaw Ocean Music Project playlist.
Columbus by Angger Dimas
Finders Keepers by Their Dogs Were Astronauts
A Dystopian Place by First Light Circus
Details for this piece were sourced, in part, from this article.
Photos courtesy of The Ocean Outlaw Project.