I Monster

Sheffield, England

Monsters of the Deep


Behind the Music

The sea will always be evocative for an artist. In these tracks, the music functions as a soundbed to the spoken word provided in the sound clips from the reporting. I don’t think this mix of recorded word with music in a journalistic sense has been done before, and certainly not with the scope of this project. My hope is that the sheer amount of music released for the project will draw the listener in. 

I hope that my tracks will provide insight into the subject matter of the book for an audience that may not as readily absorb this information through a book or a newspaper. The sea has always felt like a “no man’s land,” the last great wilderness less touched by destructive human activity. But it seems that that is not totally the case. What I found most shocking about the stories is the amount of uncharted corruption that occurs in this area that covers over 70% of the world’s surface. As Ian states, the full depths of the ocean are uncharted, but so is all of the human activity on the surface. The amount of human and environmental suffering out on the ocean is always going to be shocking to me. 

Still, I think everyone can do their bit to minimize the damage caused by overfishing and plastic pollution simply by making intelligent choices as consumers. Look to see where your fish originates from. Is it endangered through overfishing? Can we minimize the amount of plastics that we consume?

I Monster
About I Monster

Best known for the loungy trip-hop track, "Daydream in Blue," a 2001 hit that has a lengthy and convoluted history of its own, the British production duo I Monster specialize in psychedelic, electronic-tinged pop confections that are often based around samples from easy listening records and other unlikely sources. Jarrod Gosling and Dean Honer met in the record section of the Sheffield City Library in the early '90s, an era when that city -- which had already been the site of major developments in electronica, during the heyday of synth pop in the 1980s -- was witnessing another musical renaissance with the flourishing of so-called "bleep music," thanks to the IDM pioneers at Warp Records. Inspired by the burgeoning local scene as well as their shared poverty and abundant free time, the pair got to work creating some abstract electronic sounds of their own, under the name the Anderson Shelter. Five years into their collaboration, having succumbed to self-described "bleep fatigue," they shifted gears in 1997 with a new name (taken from the 1971 British horror film I, Monster) and a new sample-based, song-oriented approach to music-making. 

I Monster were put on hold to some extent for a few years (during which time Gosling stocked up on progressive rock LPs while working at a record shop), but they resurfaced in 2001 with a reworked 7" version of "Daydream in Blue," which had initially appeared on Children.

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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