Robert Farrugia

Mosta, Malta

Radio Call


Behind the Music

Just as a picture is often worth a thousand words, so are sounds and music. Soundscapes are incredibly visually evocative, taking us to places that words sometimes cannot. I specifically tried to emulate this philosophy with my contributions to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. One of my favorite parts of composing my tracks was getting the chance to scroll through the vast digital archive from Ian’s reporting — watching and listening, and ultimately trying to make sense of the stories contained in each file. 

Normally my creative process revolves around creating music that reflects my current frame of mind. But having access to so many digital resources that helped give weight to the journey of The Outlaw Ocean, I had to shift my approach and try to direct each component to help the songs convey the message of Ian’s book. It was a captivating task. There is no barrier when it comes to music — I feel like it’s a universal language that each and every individual can be fluent in. Adding a soundtrack of sorts to journalism heightens the senses of the audience, ultimately creating a more immersive experience that allows them to associate certain sounds and moods to a particular thing.

Robert Farrugia
About Robert Farrugia

Robert Farrugia is an ambient/experimental/neoclassical artist from Malta who has released through labels such as Assembly Field, Whitelabrecs and, more recently, the Spanish imprint, Archives. Robert is a classically trained pianist, although his earlier work saw him produce experimental guitar-based music before returning to focus more on piano recordings in 2013. He cites Ólafur Arnalds, Stars Of The Lid and Taylor Deupree as his major influences.

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.

Learn More