** (Update 8 December 2021 : I wrote a piece about recent events that have circulated about The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. Read it here.) **
Welcome to part two of my definitive countdown of the top tracks released for Ian Urbina’s ambitious, ‘The Outlaw Ocean Music Project‘. Previously, I reached as far as number eleven – I’ll be concluding the list here and choosing my favourite track from the project…..drum roll.
This curated list was compiled from a bank of over nine hundred releases, It wasn’t easy to construct but hopefully you’ll find ample pleasure in the fine music it includes.
What is The Outlaw Ocean Music Project? Why am I covering it?
If you weren’t already familiar with The Outlaw Ocean Music Project or were wondering what the concept is all about. Check out the introductory piece I penned earlier. It outlines the origins, topics and overall aim of this major collaborative movement. Take some time and gather all the information you need by clicking here.
Also, you can catch up on part one (#20-#11) of the countdown here.
24-year old Dutch producer and sound designer Poolz is a special inclusion in the top ten. His music is beat-less and purely driven by creaking, grinding sound effects. As I mentioned earlier on in the feature, I’m not ordinarily an avid fan of ambient soundscapes. Sailing in the Mist, is of such high quality though, that it had me firmly still and in a state of trance. I found myself staring out the window of my bedroom, out onto the street below, deep in reflective thought.
The contrast between the eerie, disorienting sound effects and the blissful, euphoric synth-notes, is brilliant. Honestly, I’ve listened to this one around ten times this week. It evokes vivid imagery through subtle use of distortion, changes in dynamic and wholesome textures. I caught up with Poolz for an interview, you will be able to read up on more about his music there. Yorick, who hails from Den Haag, is a top shelf operator.
Listen to more music from Poolz – HERE
As an Irishman, it was great to find a couple of great Irish acts were invited to participate in the collection. Fish Go Deep are an experienced duo from Cork who have been making infectious dance music together for more than twenty years. Their slow-burning opening track Captain Is God gets the nod – if any of you have been following this blog, you’ll have noticed that downtempo is my go-to genre. This tune certainly tickles my fancy in that stylistic regard.
The rolling beat, synth arpeggios and wonderfully fitting use of Urbina’s samples make this an interesting listen. Their sound is cultured and noticeably crisp on the production end. I was lucky enough to have an insightful phone call with Shane (one half of the duo) earlier this week. He explained all about their creative process and studio set up. This interview will be available early next week. Keep an eye out.
Listen to more from Fish Go Deep – HERE
Oslo-based Lo-Fi, Hip-Hop and Chill-Hop producer Miscél is a young artist who has been churning out coveted tunes for a few years now. The talented 21-year old decided to take part in the project and came up with a truly beautiful piece of instrumental bliss. E Mare, Libertas, is a mellow, piano-based composition that caresses the ear. His production style is wonderfully non-intrusive, his music has no big crescendos, no overly complicated components or big surprises. This one is a simple beat which incorporates a mild background crackle effect and short bursts of Ian Urbina’s prose. The piano does the rest against the patters of a soft and light drum loop.
Shoe-gaze stuff from a producer who is at the top of his game. Look out for my interview with Miscél next week.
Listen to more from Miscél – HERE
Yet another hellishly talented Dutch producer, this time it’s Arnhem-born, David Berman (Just Big Hills). Berman released The Skirmish, a brooding, bass-heavy production as he played around with Ian Urbina’s archive footage. This is quite an intense arrangement, which is a style change from his normal solo releases.
The beauty of this project on the whole, is the way musicians are experimenting with their own musical styles. Just Big Hills is predominantly a successful slow-paced Lo-Fi producer. His work for this project is totally different – The Skirmish is almost unrecognizable in comparison. It’s wonderful to see an artist embracing a totally new idea with such open-minded creativity.
Listen to Just Big Hills – HERE
6 // Subsets – Stowaway
The first UK-based contributor to get a shout-out is Berkshire’s, Subsets. Coming in at number six, we have the vibrant and chilled rhythms of Stowaway. A subtle humming bass-line, rolling afro-type beat and a sprinkling of chirpy, plucky melodies. This track doesn’t really have to impose itself on the listener too much, it effortlessly seems to hit the spot. His impressive use of samples and various conversational snippets, contribute in making this one of the entire project’s stand-out moments.
Smooth, easy and totally accomplished – it may be a weird comparison but I get Spyro The Dragon soundtrack vibes here. I loved that game as a child, the soundtrack was filled with uplifting, unique sounds. I’m not trying to undermine Subsets here (he is a Cafe Del Mar standard producer), this is just a totally obscure spur of the moment compliment. Lovely.
Listen to more from Subsets – HERE
5 // Fouk – The Chase
Another pick from The Netherlands, yet another experienced and well-respected duo. Fouk‘s, Hans and Daniel, have been steadily releasing funky house fusion together since 2014. They were one of the familiar names I recognized in the collection when the digging began. It was really nice to stumble upon their adaptation – surely they were going to ooze class on their productions – I was not disappointed.
The Chase is the opening track from the EP – it opens slowly with an atmospheric intro which features some prolonged prose samples from Urbina’s footage. As the tempo shifts and the percussion comes in gradually, the whole song builds into a high octane percussion and synth masterclass. I absolutely fell in love with this tune – not only is it one of my favourite’s from the project, it’s a song I’ll be coming back to again and again.
Listen to more from Fouk – HERE
France is the next stop and Hugo Kant‘s exceptionally obscure Lucky Number. This was one of the first tunes that stopped me in my tracks while embarking on my hunt. The first five or six artists I encountered were purely ambient types. I was getting a little tired and moody – all of a sudden, the music of Hugo Kant was next in line. Within thirty seconds of listening to Lucky Numbers, I knew it was top five material and so it transpired.
This is totally unique sound. Great sampling and a cross-genre style.
Listen to more of Hugo Kant‘s music – HERE
Roger Molls is definitely a stand-out artist. I mean, Fluid Borders is such a stunning tune isn’t it? Break-beats and harpsichord combined in one place – this is a new one for me. Inspired by Ian Urbina’s book and also the music of composer John Barry, this is an overwhelmingly pleasing creation.
Where else would I have consciously stumbled upon a track like this? As a blogger that supports new music and receives up to fifty submissions a day – finding a track as interesting as this is a rare occurrence. It makes a welcome change from listening to those dreaded trap hi-hats all day.
Listen to more from Roger Molls – HERE
I featured Mononome‘s 2012 single ‘Don’t Come Back‘ recently on The Sound Sniffer. Somehow the music of Mononome slipped by me until a few months ago. This Greek producer makes some of the nicest sample-heavy productions and his latest single Balla is a gem. I was delighted to discover he had also decided to contribute to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. His six song EP is a hidden treat – like bonus tracks on a B- Side.
The stand-out song on the EP for me is the final track which is titled, Back to Solid Ground. It’s quite a chaotic soundscape, loads of different samples flying around in unison, somehow it just works. I knew as soon as the chanting vocals arrived and the cowbell chimed, that this was a contender for top spot. It missed out, but certainly impressed. If you haven’t heard of Mononome yet, check him out – a true purveyor of electronic sounds.
Listen to more from Mononome – HERE
Here it is, my number one track ripped from Ian Urbina’s large collection of collaborations. Nine hundred songs, three hundred artists and it’s coincidentally fitting that top spot goes to a New York City resident. Bad Tuner is one of NYC’s most talented young up and comers. His encyclopedic knowledge of all things music related, makes him shine above the masses. He recently signed to Tokimonska’s label, so things are only beginning for him.
His tune Adelaide’s Voyage was pretty much a shoe-in for top spot when I started curating this list. I’ve been listening to this tune consistently since it came my way via SubmitHub earlier this year. It has already received a write-up on The Sound Sniffer and probably around five hundred streams too (from myself alone). I caught up with him on zoom during the week, I will be publishing the interview shortly, there he will explain all the finer details about the track.
A worthy place on top of the pile for Bad Tuner. Will future releases topple him off his perch? It will take a strong gust to displace Adelaide’s Voyage.
Listen to more from Bad Tuner – HERE
You can find the complete collection of all twenty tracks featured by The Sound Sniffer in the playlist below.
Check out the The Outlaw Ocean Music Project official website HERE
Catch up on Part One of the Countdown HERE
About ‘The Sound Sniffer’
The Sound Sniffer is a one-man music blog which is still only a baby – Founded and run by Kevin Coakley in early 2019. He is a music writer and ghostwriter. ‘The Sound Sniffer’ also runs gigs and showcases in London since Oct 2019. The showcases are picked from artists I find in my submissions inbox.
Check out my Interviews HERE