Smoke Trees

Stuttgart, Germany

Across the Horizon


Behind the Music

I was very excited when asked to be involved in this project, since I am fascinated by the sea and the ocean. I was eager to learn more. Because I am an avid thinker and interested in politics, the possibility of doing something meaningful with my music also made me happy. It’s great that some of the proceeds of my work will go toward Ian’s future reporting, and I hope the music will benefit his work by bringing it to the attention of the musicians’ audiences.

Smoke Trees
About Smoke Trees

Smoke Trees, head of the Stuttgart, Germany-based label Estugarda Records, has become a giant in the German beatmaker scene. Over the years, the former graphic designer and illustrator has released over a dozen vinyl records and albums. His relaxing and experimental soundscapes have reached more than 80 million streams. Combining traditional lo-fi and ambient elements with modern jazz and pop music influences, Smoke Trees is regularly breaking genre boundaries.

Winner of the 2021 Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Innovation in Journalism

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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