Good music and independent, critical journalism are two of the things that are most important to me. The Outlaw Ocean Music Project combines both. A great and important idea in turbulent times, where alternative facts seem to be completely legitimate.

Beat Lover

The Outlaw Ocean Music Project is a series featuring original music from a number of ambient, hip-hop and EDM artists. The series features music from dozens of artists from all over the globe, including Dday One, Chromonicci, Trifonic, who explain the inspirations behind their songs, which contain snippets of field recordings captured during the course of [the] reporting for the project.


Urbina uses music…as a mnemonic device to help him capture a feeling of a certain moment or place…He’ll relisten to that music and the associations and ambient emotions it triggers will transport him back to that experience…It deepens the storytelling experience. Musicians and journalists are both storytellers — one using sound, the other leveraging words…[With] that kindred connection in [The Outlaw Ocean Music Project]…you can feel the mood of uncertainty and foreboding on the boat’s bridge as a ‘way to access and capture the culture of [this] place.' Over 400 musicians from more than 60 countries have translated his stories into music that is heard by millions globally. Several of the musicians told me contributing to the project has widely expanded their audience reach as previously-unknown-to-them bloggers write about their music as well as add it to their streaming playlists.

San Francisco Classical Voice

In addition to writing a book called The Outlaw Ocean, [Ian Urbina] captured sounds in the course of his five-year journey and invited over 200 musicians around the world to use his recordings to inspire music. One of those artists is Jamison Isaak, who records under the name Teen Daze. He used the sounds of the ocean, fishermen chanting while netting fish and more to compose the piece 'Reel In (Sea Slavery),' which we include on this show.

NPR - All Songs Considered

Every place marches to its own beat. For musicians on the move, the mantra is: Stop. Listen. And take note...Learn how musicians are using field raise awareness of lawlessness at sea.

National Geographic

The Outlaw Ocean Music Project has been featured extensively in The Sound Sniffer. Click here for full coverage.

The Sound Sniffer

...a hefty portion of soft focus, woozy electronica. Love it.

Electric Sound of Joy

Like a hidden undercurrent beneath the surface of the ocean... much like the sea, [the music] is wonderfully unpredictable. Despite this, there’s an order to it, an inherent cohesion that also rings true of the ocean that inspired the song; whilst the waves cannot be predicted, the tides can and similarly the track has an inherent sense.

High Clouds

[The Outlaw Ocean Music Project] is a curated sonic experience that tells a story in and of itself...At its core, the Outlaw Ocean Music Project is meant to push the boundaries of human creativity while also helping raise awareness about the daunting challenges faced by those whose livelihoods are tied to the sea. The project intends on releasing a new music throughout the year; although it’s unclear when the next drop will be, I’m excited to continue navigating what they’ve already shared. This is a soundtrack I can definitely get behind.

Brightest Young Things

...Movies can have soundtracks; why can't books? Whence The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, a soundtrack in collaboration with more than 300 artists...Ian Urbina created a library of audio samples — both ambient and dialogue — from video captured while reporting the book.

The Friday Dish (The Emerson Collective)

Each track is linked to a chapter in the book and speaks to the darker sides of beauty in our world.

The Bay Bridged

During the single, 'Adelaide’s Voyage,' you can hear a woman speaking under the string and synth-filled instrumental. The concept gets you to listen but the track’s catchy instrumental hook is what keeps you coming back.

Surviving The Golden Age

Petey was able to flip tapes of journalistic research for the book to make them two house tracks: 'Peaceful Protest' ... tells a story about conducting a peaceful protest and the instrumental provides uplifting energy with the piano chords and vocal chops that certainly would inspire someone trying to make their voice heard or to go and make their voice heard. 'Green Peace' has a really nice tech house progression and grooving bassline throughout. Petey went above and beyond in making the instrumental work alongside the recording to tell a dramatic story.

The Nocturnal Times

Bad Tuner rearranges words and offers his own instrumentation on the lofty single. 'Adelaide’s Voyage' is a rhythmic tune with spoken work audio, bright flute sounding synths and an uptempo rhythm. The song showcases Bad Tuner’s talented arrangment abilities and unique production skills.

Casablanca Sunset

Wilczynski recently dropped the 'Raider Of The Last Ark' EP, which is based on an extremely exciting concept: For the five tracks Wilczynski was inspired by the book 'The Outlow Ocean' help to turn journalism and literature into music. Wilczynski based his EP on the book chapter of the same name, which deals with 'how banks and insurance companies carry out piracy on a different level.' Exciting thing, check it out.


In January, several releases were released as part of 'The Outlaw Ocean Music Project', which combines music with independent, critical journalism. Releases of Handbook, chromonicci, Joe Corfield and various others were released. Now the project is going into a second round and whoever was in charge of the musical direction is showing a lot of taste in choosing the producers involved.

Beat Lover

The core of this project stems from the fact that musicians and journalists are both storytellers. One uses sounds, the other leverages words. The Outlaw Ocean Music Project is a first-of-its-kind collaboration of such creators. In combining their mediums, these narrators have conveyed emotion and a sense of place in an enthralling new way. The result is incredible. It’s amazing to hear the amount of diversity in all of this music, with each artist contributing their own piece of ingenuity to the powerful stories of ‘The Outlaw Ocean.’

Your EDM

...a soundtrack for his fascinating book The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across The Last Untamed Frontier...a gorgeous, spooky mood... that fits right in with the subjects of the book: namely the lawless world of the high seas. (The stories of piracy, trafficking, and other wild criminality are incredible...)


Esteemed Italian, crossover classical pianist and composer, Olivia Belli is often compared to some of the most virtuosic composers...she is collaborating with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Ian Urbina on his project, The Outlaw Ocean Music Project.

Digital Journal

…A renowned sense of invention…a creative spectacle…that is a collaboration with Ian Urbina, a New York Times investigative journalist. The album is so profoundly cool that I wish I could rewind time to experience it for the first time again.


During EarthxFilm's 50th Earthx2020 virtual programming series, Ian Urbina joined an esteemed panel for a discussion called 'Ghost Fleet + The Outlaw Ocean: Documenting The Intersection of Environmental and Human Exploitation on the High Seas.'


Perhaps the only thing more surprising than discovering someone’s cracked the code on the high seas underworld, is finding out the same guy just dropped an overwhelming body of ambient, dubstep, drum n’ bass and house music – as part of the same endeavor…an incredible milestone in modern journalism and audio production.

Frequency Horizon Podcast

Yoni appears to be entering a new chapter in his career, as first heard on last year’s impeccably produced WHY? ...Wolf put together [a short EP] for The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, which pairs musicians with soundbites from field recordings used for investigative reporter Ian Urbina’s book about maritime lawlessness of the same name (minus the 'music project' part). I mean, ‘maritime lawlessness’ has always sort of metaphorically been a staple of the WHY? brand, right?

Flood Magazine

In a time of difficulty and fear, it’s important to draw on the pleasures of life. The Outlaw Ocean project combines two of the biggest - music and nature. Hundreds of musicians from around the world have created songs and sounds to accompany Ian Urbina's New York Times best-seller The Outlaw Ocean, a journey across the world's oceans that looks at the problems and issues that can be found at sea.

Music Map

Urbina collaborated with a diverse array of cutting-edge music artists to create original songs not only inspired by 'The Outlaw Ocean,' but that use field recordings captured by Urbina in the course of his reporting as source material. The result is an incomparable body of music whose unusual textures and rhythms are built from everything from machine-gun fire off the coast of Somalia to chanting captive deckhands in the South China Sea.

Ja Gurl TV

In recruiting artists from around the world, the project conscripted an army of cultural diplomats who are talking, in their own language of music, about the weighty concerns facing this offshore realm and the millions of people who work or depend on it.

Nordic Music Review

Nox Vahn is now headfirst into his second year under his new moniker. He rang in 2020 with... The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, inspired by author Ian Urbina.


This book takes people into this uncharted, unruly world of high seas and it is ‘un-put-downable.’ The stories in this book will make you realize how implicit many of us are in these horrible human and environmental abuses that are taking place on the ocean every single day...people need to know about this…when a book like this comes it generally creates a shockwave and it just goes to show your point about how necessary it is to support this type of journalism…

Ocean Impact Podcast

The innovative dynamic of this project and it’s ability to attract intrigue (especially mine) is totally groundbreaking. Fusing the power of music creators and the world of journalism together – the project successfully draws the listener’s attention out of the streaming platforms and onto a larger movement outlining important global issues.

The Sound Sniffer

Miscél gently fuses together piano, beats and audio from the book in a way that is really listenable and engaging. There is nothing too jarring or dominant sounding in the release, I guess he’s trying to convey the vastness of the oceans and the small part that we play in it.

Nordic Music Review

The music is based on the book, The Outlaw Ocean, which uncovered some of the most incredible, unseen acts and the people acting upon them on both sides of the coin…that happen out in international waters way out of sight and way out of mind...this is such an incredible combination of music and story and current events…such an amazing parallel process…the project is highly immersive you feel like you just experienced this amazing emotional trip…


In combining their mediums, these narrators have conveyed emotion and a sense of place in an enthralling new way. The result is a captivating body of music based on The Outlaw Ocean reporting...These artists have taken a real leap of faith in lending their creative capabilities to help spread this message, try something new and support this journalism.

T.H.E. Music Essentials

A soundtrack format inspired by the book 'The Outlaw Ocean,' a series of stories as heartbreaking as they are revealing by the writer and journalist…[is] a slap of reality, an amalgamation of feelings that spring from understanding pain...The book itself is not so much a complaint as a confirmation of something that is happening around us and that is totally unknown to the vast majority of society...the beauty of [the] music hides horror…[the music] is for everyone, beautiful, painful, and above all its powerful message full of reality and the reflection to which it invites us…

Mixmag Spain

In combining their mediums, these narrators have conveyed emotion and a sense of place in an enthralling, new way. The result is a captivating body of music based on The Outlaw Ocean reporting.

Green Radio Hour

Some of the most powerful sound clips included in the tracks include an Indonesian woman crying at sea and parts of a speech on climate change hosted on a Greenpeace ship near the Arctic. Each piece of music therefore encompasses a backstory on a particular issue and the need to stop environmental lawlessness and human rights abuses.

Green Queen

Spanning numerous genres, from electronic and ambient to classical and hip hop, the music seeks to capture the emotions and raise awareness of these critical offshore issues.

The Pulitzer Center

In the song "Help Us," we hear the composer [Philip G Anderson] on the piano, Laura Masotto on the violin and Magdalena Sustere on the cello. From the album, we recommend the song, "Trafficked," which is accompanied by a documentary short film that gives a snapshot of crimes in the ocean.


Watson and other artists have been invited to interpret their feelings in relation to the journalist's work using a sound file [from the reporting] that was made available to all of them. Vince Watson's album "Hope" was the product of his inspiration.

Clubbing Spain

Great concept, great idea...What goes at sea stays at sea yet here it is. pq did great work on this record.

Independent Music Podcast

It's not the soundtrack to a film this time, it's a soundtrack to a book...All of this fueled the music on this EP which hopefully helps to shed more light on this important subject.


Enjoy the nine-track album, Sea of Sorrow, by the Greek artist Melorman.


The album is a departure from Marco's signature style and reflects the introspetion, emotion and ultimately HOPE of his lockdown experience. Mixmag caught up with him to talk about some of the inspirations and processes behind creating this heartfelt ode to the oceans.

Mixmag UK

The Outlaw Ocean Music Project leverages the power of music to put a spotlight on the immediate need for engagement and stewardship of our collective resource, the ocean...The results have been nothing short of amazing, as time and again the critically important work of The Outlaw Ocean Project catalyses some truly stunning works of electronic music ranging from downtempo to ambient, indie electro, and post-rock.


The idea [of The Outlaw Ocean Music Project] is to create not only a soundtrack for the book, but a new way to report your investigations through music. This attracts and raises awareness of new audiences and has also become an undisputed success.

Beat for Beat

DJ Victor Lou teamed up with artists from around the world to help tell these stories in a form of songs. Overcoming barriers, he was invited to participate in one of the biggest projects in the international history of electronic music.


Eight electronic, Mexican artists decided to take part in a global collaboration focused not only on producing rich beats, but also promoting ocean awareness...This type of journalism is already so impressive without music. Music only adds the finishing touches to create an even bigger impact.

El Sol de Mexico

In his latest EP, 'Ghostly Lives,; Scott Korchinski (Houndtrack) uses his experimental, electronic sounds to convey stories 'The Outlaw Ocean,' which details the lives of men who are tricked into working on illegal fishing boats. Korchinski aimed to pay homage [to these men] by using 'raw chanting recordings, fragmented melodies, and rushing percussion.'

Santa Barbara News Press

The result of the collaboration with Ian Urbina is “The Ocean Suite”, five tracks very beautiful, intense, moving, that deeply disturb, that transmit you so much sadness but also so much sweetness.

Gazzetta del Sud

Jesse Brown's recent album, The Magic Pipe, as part of a project inspired by The Outlaw Ocean book has found success. The idea was for the musical community to come together with an investigative journalist, Ian Urbina, for a common goal of making the world a better expanding the reach of important work to bring about positive change.


Jaw-dropping…compositions, which includes audio and video samples from Urbina's time at sea — including gunfire recorded off the Somali coast and the voices of sailors taken captive on the South China Sea — mixed in with ambient sound textures to amplify the cinematic scope of the project...aiming to raise awareness of the urgency of those situations and hopefully incite change.


Township Rebellion, one of the pioneering duos of [house and techno],... worked with New York Times journalist, Ian Urbina, and The Outlaw Ocean Project to deliver 'Storming The Thunder,'...using melodic beats filled with storytelling elements...which takes us all on a mesmerizing journey into a shadowy soundscape.


In 'Cosmic Waters,' Televangel blurs art and activism to thrilling effect ..[using] the field recordings and spoken word taken from Ian Urbina's five year investigation into the anarchic high seas...There is a buoyancy, a bubbly, sun-soaked cadence, to the production that fights to keep a sense of hope afloat in the face of a seemingly unwinnable situation.

The Quietus

Township Rebellion, defying the self-centered status quo in today's music industry...In 2020, their sensuous appeal has reached a fever pitch...New York Times journalist Ian Urbina tapped them to forge a sonic counterpart to his coverage on Interpol's most wanted poaching ship.

Flaunt Magazine

James Vine (better known as ENiGMA Dubz), of the best, underrated UK producers,...has joined with Ian Urbina's Outlaw Ocean Music Project [to produce]...the awe-inspiring,..euphoric, but haunting EP titled 'Boundless.'...James created a breathtaking EP...a beautiful cluster of downtempo electronica, garage bass and dubstep.


As part of journalist Ian Urbina's Outlaw Ocean Music Project, ...over 400 musicians from more than 60 countries have translated his stories into music...deep stuff, but presented in a non-too-taxing manner. It makes for...quite relaxing,..heartfelt.. interesting listening.

Nordic Music Review

The Journalism

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