Bydgoszcz, Poland

Rough Seas


Behind the Music

In the chapter “Armed and Dangerous,” Ian writes that “crime is countered only as much as it’s counted.” The first story in the chapter talks about footage that was discovered in a cell phone that someone left in a taxi that shows a shooting of unarmed people in the water. It’s terrifying that even in the 21st century, in an age of globalization and advanced surveillance systems, people can still do whatever they want on the sea and no one will ever know about it. Until we come up with a system that helps us monitor the vast seas and oceans, crimes like this will happen and most of us will never learn about them. 

The “Armed and Dangerous” chapter stood out to me the most because in my country, normal citizens cannot even possess a gun without going through a series of psychological tests in order to get a permit. The black market for guns is also incredibly small. For me in this reality, reading about the murders that happen at sea and the hoards of armed people sailing unnoticed is mind-blowing. 

For those like me who never had much experience with traveling or living on the sea, Ian’s work shows us that as much as the ocean looks beautiful in pictures, it is also a space of danger and unpredictability. 

Through my music, I wanted to conduct the emotions that I felt while reading particular chapters directly to the listeners to give them a glimpse of what impact the book had on me. I didn’t say upfront what those emotions were, though, because I wanted the listeners to develop their own interpretations. In my opinion, that’s the beauty of instrumental music. It never tells you directly how you should feel about certain songs, but leaves you with a space to locate your own feelings. My hope for the tracks is for them to complement the reading experience. By sparking interest in listeners to read more about Ian’s reporting, I hope to draw awareness to the important and vast topic of crime on the sea. 

About Milkz

Milkz is an artist and beatmaker from Poland blending calm, cozy vibes with heavy hitting drums. He’s inspired in his craft by legendary producers but also working to develop an original sound revolving around instrumental and lo-fi hip hop.

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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