Alan Braxe

Pibrac, France

Silence At Sea


Behind the Music

My process with The Outlaw Ocean Music Project included a bit of creative experimentation. As a music maker, I am very sensitive and attune to all sources of audio material. When Ian sent me his expansive sound library of field recordings, interviews and prose, I took my time working my way through. I organized each clip by theme, topic and idea, among other things, before combing through my own personal music and song inspirations to find the best combinations. When I found elements that blended well together, I began finalizing the track.

The melding of music and journalism has always been common when it comes to documentaries or TV, but I’ve rarely ever seen this combination arise with books. Adding a layer of rhythm to this storytelling is an impactful and innovative way to intensify a message and make the overall experience more immersive for a reader. More than that, it can help grab the attention of audiences and broaden the reach these topics get.

Alan Braxe
About Alan Braxe

Alan Braxe is a singular musician with a rare and restless spirit. His penchant for composition and melody commenced at an early age, with classical training in clarinet and cello. Braxe developed an omnivorous appetite for music in his adolescence, devouring everything from Alexander O'Neal to Heaven 17 and Public Enemy.

Before long, Braxe was producing his own viral strain of dance music using only a mixer, a compressor, and an Emu SP1200.

Within a year, a handful of Braxe’s early demos attracted Thomas Bangalter’s attention, and Braxe’s debut single, “Vertigo”, was released in 1997 via Bangalter’s influential Roulé label. “Vertigo” was a hallmark of the emerging French Touch sound, and Braxe, Bangalter, and childhood friend Benjamin Diamond decided to join forces for a collaborative project. That project would be called Stardust, and their 1998 single “Music Sounds Better With You” — which they wrote and recorded in one week — arrived as an instant dance music classic, selling over three million copies, and earning the trio a canonical spot in the electronic music constellation.

Approaching the 20th anniversary of Stardust’s smash success and the Vulture label’s launch, Braxe again takes a radical turn in method. He strips his studio of all things digital and starts to experiment with a Buchla modular synthesizer, echoing his first setup’s minimalism.

Winner of the 2021 Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Innovation in Journalism

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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