Aurora, USA

Solastalgia Radio


Behind the Music

My approach for this project was a bit different from how I approach my usual material in that I wanted to create a sense of urgency without swaying too far from my normal, calmer sound. After reading through Ian’s book and listening to his field recordings, I kept coming back to the audio snippets containing frenetic and constant radio chatter and noise. By blending several of these samples together with processed guitar, it started creating an anxiety-inducing but oddly hypnotic effect. The rest evolved naturally. 

Accepting the sadness and reality of life at sea, it feels almost comforting thinking about all these people out there involved in a wide spectrum of activities on the ocean. My music is meant to place the listener in the atmosphere of quiet cabins on ships carrying the onerous weight of responsibility. Suspended in negative ions, its ceaseless open radio emits solastalgia. It’s humbling to be a part of such an enormous undertaking. The stories are sobering. This sort of journalistic innovation is sorely needed to spark interest and drive home the importance of crimes taking place on the water. Combining the music, the writing, the visuals and the ambient sound of The Outlaw Ocean has been a moving experience and has allowed me to pull the listener and reader into this watery realm on a more empathic level. 

About Hilyard

Hilyard is a multi-genre musical artist and sound designer heavily focused on creating immersive and long-form dronescapes. A bit of a nomad, Hilyard has lived in many places, both rural and urban. At present, he resides in the quiet fog-soaked forests of Maine on a family homestead. He didn’t start out as an ambient artist. In fact, he played in a few death metal and grind bands, and started producing beats at a young age. Hilyard’s interest in ambient music stemmed from a need to escape the reality of the tragic deaths of numerous close friends and family members. The meditative, ambient genre was a natural fit for his personal taste and psychic need. Music provided a healthy outlet and a vehicle to move forward and possibly help others who had experienced trauma and harsh realities of their own.

Hilyard is still forming his story, style and sound, but his hazy and sometimes melancholic drones tend to balance out darkness with bittersweet positivity. He utilizes his own found sound and field recordings, along with an array of instruments and organic noisemakers, to sculpt his ambient dream worlds. Much of his music tends to be minimalist, but it can also dive into cinematic ambient and modern classical styles. Although ambient environments are his main focus, Hilyard also creates within other genres including post-metal, post-rock and beat-based electronic music.

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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