Rachel LaFond

Austin, USA

Lost in the Azure


Behind the Music

I took a novel approach to creating my contribution to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. I felt a serious responsibility to honor the material, and for me that meant up-ending my usual process. I immersed myself in the book, noting and re-reading particularly powerful passages as I wrote and recorded the solo piano tracks in my home studio. But something didn’t feel quite right: I decided these stories needed me to expand my sound beyond just the piano. So, I taught myself to have a voice in other mediums by learning to produce, adding symphonic and ambient electronica textures to my piano sound. As I got deeper into the material, I realized I wanted to create something more profound than I imagined at the start. I originally thought I might only write one or two tracks, but ended up writing eight.

Being a part of this project has shifted my perception of the ocean subtly. It will always be a dreamily enigmatic place to me, but I’ve come to realize it is also a void, an empty canvas. And that emptiness creates space for some of the most impactful environmental and human rights abuses that exist on our planet. The amazing thing about the ocean is its ability to encompass all of this meaning and context at the same time. It is so vast and occupies so much space in the collective human psyche, it can be beautiful AND terrible at the same time. Fortunately, we can do something about the latter.

Rachel LaFond
About Rachel LaFond

Rachel LaFond is a composer and pianist living in Austin, Texas, with roots in Seattle and New Zealand. Prior to diving into Lost in the Azure, she finished her epic project The 52, an ambitious challenge in which she composed and released new music every week for a year, complete with custom artwork. She went in an exciting new direction for her contribution to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, with a style she calls epic symphonic-electronica piano.

Rachel's music combines a technically proficient approach to composition and performance with an intuitive ability to draw in the listener and convey profound emotion. Fans and reviewers alike describe her music as captivating, soulful, and deeply personal. With a strong musical foundation, a "DIY" attitude, and a zest for adventure, Rachel is forging a unique path as a composer and recording artist.

She released her debut solo piano album, Wandering Soul, in 2017, inspired by a year spent backpacking around the world. She composed Encounters of the Beautiful Kind, Well Past Midnight, and The 52 while living as an expat in New Zealand. In addition to releasing new music, Rachel relishes touring and live performance. Past performances have ranged from playing on the main stage of a cruise ship (Audiosyncracy at Sea 2019) to inviting the public into her home for a more intimate concert - the best seat in the house is underneath her Yamaha C7!

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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