Mark Guiliana

Los Angeles, USA

Ancient Practice


Behind the Music

My initial inspiration came from Ian’s brilliant writing, and I did my best to capture and translate what I experienced while reading his recountings of these compelling stories. As I began to envision the ideas for each song, I also began thinking of who would play them. Stu Brooks and Nicholas Semrad are good friends whom I frequently collaborate with. I constantly had their sonic talents and incredible musicianship in mind while writing. The creative process specific to composing this album was a beautiful reminder to be as open as possible to inspiration from a wide variety of sources, especially those unorthodox or unconventional ones outside of music. Writing songs directly influenced by Ian’s writing was a fresh and inspiring way to work, and something I foresee carrying with me to future projects. 

As listeners are guided through the atmosphere of The Outlaw Ocean while hearing my music, I hope they can gain new insight on the ways art can be collaborative. I’ve always been inspired by a variety of things, but I’ve never deliberately created sounds attached to written words. I’m so grateful for Ian’s invitation to be part of this unique project, and I hope the connection of reporting and journalism will present a new and exciting experience.

Mark Guiliana
About Mark Guiliana

Hailed by The New York Times as “a drummer around whom a cult of admiration has formed,” Mark Guiliana brings the same adventurous spirit, eclectic palette and gift for spontaneous invention to a staggering range of styles. Equally virtuosic playing acoustic jazz, boundary-stretching electronic music or next-level rock, he’s become a key collaborator with such original sonic thinkers as Brad Mehldau, Meshell Ndegeocello, Donny McCaslin, Matisyahu and the late, great David Bowie.

Guiliana’s forward-leaping BEAT MUSIC is more than a band – it’s a community. Over the last decade the drummer has gathered around him a family of like-minded artists who share a passion for the limitless possibilities of electronic music, combined with an in-the-moment creativity rooted in jazz improvisation. On April 12, Motéma Music will release Guiliana’s third plunge into that vast musical ocean, the emphatically titled “BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC!” The in-your-face exclamation of that title is no accident; Guiliana’s third recording with his BEAT MUSIC cohort is a bold and vigorous exploration of window-rattling grooves, cinematic imagery, ecstatic atmospheres and a captivating tapestry of textures and voices.

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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