From Disco To Downpour: A Listen To Silence At Sea By Alan Braxe
Updated: Mar 18
It is the early 2000s. It is late on a Saturday night where possibilities are endless; there is mischief in the air. The weather is drizzly. So much so that the lights of town in the inky sky have an echo. Newcastle upon Tyne, England. You are in the club without a care in the world.
Twelve beats come into play, four follow on a different note. The song is Alan Braxe and Fred Falke: Intro. Every character hurries to the dance floor to be in unison as the vocals swirl around the body and the unmistakable bass controls each move accompanied by wild abandonment.
Like a Pied Piper of the discotheque, Mr Braxe is adept in composing, producing and remixing those anthemic, high-quality pieces iced in his dreamy glaze. But, for latest EP, Silence At Sea, he is swapping dry land for the fluid rhythms of the planet's water in a luminary challenge. The Outlaw Ocean Music Project aims to manifest a bold presence through the combining of journalism- from Ian Urbina- and music created by more than 250 artists from over 50 countries.
Urbina curated an archive of field recordings of the sea in places, including Somalia and South China and called issues like a Greenpeace climate protest and an Indonesian woman weeping to our attention. Every other month musical interpretations of his documentations are added to the catalogue in genres like hip-hop to classical to ambient. Electronica is a the helm on February 12th, 2020 as Alan lends his technical and artistic expertise to the four tracks.
Mr Braxe embelishes,
"When Ian Urbina contacted me about this project that melds journalism and music it sounded like a good opportunity to escape my usual music producing process by working with audio field recording as a primary source which is something I am not used to."
"It proved to be quite exciting working this way because the effects, should it be a helicopter sound, someone talking on a radio or whatever, instantly add a layer which triggers emotions and imagination quite effectively. The musical part has been composed the old school way with a Buchla modular synth and a sampler."
Waves caress the shore in that familiar way that grounds our being and reminds us that we are part of a bigger picture in opener, The Restless Sea. A helicopter effect arrives and flawlessly fades into the beat as a knowledgable voice introduces, "The ocean is outlawed. Not because it is inherently good or bad, but because it is a void." Synths fire up to join the party as the words continue, and although it is a sturdy piece rhythmically, it's dynamism is grand.
So Quiet begins in a thunderous storm; the type that when you are cosy in your home, it delivers therapy and peaceful existence. As repetitive funk washes over, and another steady beat is bookend by the downpour. Exotic percussion and melodious singing commence Siren's Call which bears all the hallmarks of a Braxe classic. Whimsical synths and bells bring that gush of endorphins.
Radio tuning labelling pirates as dangerous characters raiding ships introduces a change of juncture for closing song and master-stroke Unpunished. Adding to the threat, a hefty bassline leads to a ridiculously brilliant breakdown where the intensity is dizzying. Raconteur Alan Braxe has displayed a distinctive side to his repertoire that still takes the soul, just like days gone by in our youth, willingly to another level, but highlighting the care we must take of our oceans. Fashioned from stimulus and constructed with class.
Article by Beverley Knight