Axel Thesleff

Helsinki, Finland

Scenes from the Ocean


Behind the Music

The “Scenes from the Ocean” album is a rollercoaster of emotion, much like The Outlaw Ocean itself. The whole work is meant to feel like one very lengthy song that is broken up by small interludes that rely on Ian’s ambient sound archive to paint a vivid sound collage. Each track seamlessly flows into the next, giving the album the feel of an epic journey that reflects the adventurous nature of Ian’s own trips around the world. Through this sonic adventure, the labrum conveys feelings of sadness, despair, fear and anger, as well as hope, mystery, vastness, epicness, which ultimately results in confronting the unknown and overcoming great obstacles.

The creation process for this album was a multi-year project that required much reflection and pondering to find new perspectives and ideas. I made the album in two project files — one for the first half, and one for the second half — which was a crucial workflow factor, as it enabled me to create a continuous journey where the tracks melded together and took the listener on a deep dive through the world of The Outlaw Ocean. This was quite a challenging album to make, but also artistically very rewarding and exciting. The project required much thought and digestion, but I’m incredibly proud of how the final product turned out. 

Axel Thesleff
About Axel Thesleff

Axel Thesleff is an electronic musician and producer based in Helsinki, Finland. His style is very diverse, ranging from bass-heavy bangers to more relaxed and deep tracks, never forgetting about the emotion and story behind each piece of music. His tunes will make subwoofers purr, but also deliver an emotional impact that resonates with your soul.


Axel's popularity has been paced up by his 2014 release “Bad Karma,” which has been streamed more than 300 million times on YouTube and millions more on Spotify and SoundCloud. Also, his other releases have been noticed by BBC Asian Network, Kiss FM Romania, YleX Finland and several other radio channels around the world. Several club gigs, festival performances and interesting collaborations are just the beginning for this skilled, but humble, musician’s career.

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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