Behind the Music
I began my contributions to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project with the sounds that came to mind as I thought about Ian’s reporting. I started with a base of contemplation and calmness. Amid that, there was suspense, like in “The Hunt,” and meditation as with “Waiting for the Prey.” I’m originally from the harbor city of Bremen in Germany. Living here, I would always hear the clang of metal in the marina. This led me to use metal objects for the percussion in many songs. As I continued to think of the atmosphere of that harbor city, I was reminded of its shabby quality and tried to emulate that through cracking keys and the "Schifferklavier," or the piano-accordion.
In the beginning, I had more of a nostalgic and romantic approach to crime at sea. But as I read Ian’s book, and learned of stories that left me speechless, I stepped back and realized the true darkness that lay beneath what I had previously perceived. I didn’t want to serve that romanticized idea of piracy, so I transitioned to conveying the adventure, tension and thrill experienced by those aboard ships like the Bob Barker and Sam Simon — some of the heroes of The Outlaw Ocean.
I tried to avoid putting too much content into the music, instead allowing the focus to remain on the text. The songs are simply a soundtrack to accompany the listener while they read The Outlaw Ocean, for it is an incredible feat of storytelling.
Berlin resident Frank Schültge Blumm, who composes adventurous, intricate music using a variety of acoustic and electronic instruments, describes himself as an "ear worker." Born in Bremen on July 16, 1968, Blumm studied music art, educational science and classical guitar. His early projects focused on noise - Blumm's way of rebelling against the classical guitar - but his work became more structured once he became interested in radio plays. A move to Berlin in 1997 found Blumm collaborating more and his radio plays were broadcast across Germany. Blumm came to most people's attention in 2001 when he released “Mondkuchen,” one of the first "acoustic" records on Morr Music. In 2002, Staubgold released his dreamy “Ankern” album, but he returned to Morr for 2005's “Zweite Meer” and 2006's “Summer Kling.”
Numerous collaborations followed, including a 2007 release with trumpeter Luca Fadda, singles with Anne Laplantine and David Grubbs and an album with vocalist Jana Plewa under the name Old Splendifolia. Additionally, Blumm and Ellinor Blixt (aka Bobby Baby) released two albums as Bobby & Blumm, and Blumm joined Fadda and Jason Candler in the reggae-inspired Quasi Dub Development project. Blumm also began releasing a series of experimental albums with famed German pianist Nils Frahm. The solo full-length “Up Up” and “Astray” appeared on Pingipung in 2013; the label also issued Blumm's subsequent collaborations with Springintgut (The Bird and White Noise) and Hey (Riddims and Biscuits). “Welcome” - an album of laid-back, intimate electro-acoustic indie pop - was released by Karaoke Kalk in 2017.