Inner Voices EP
Thad Fiscella and The Outlaw Ocean Music Project
2020 / Synesthesia Media
Review by Kathy Parsons
Inner Voices is Thad Fiscella's five-song solo piano (plus ocean sounds on some of the tracks) EP in the remarkable Outlaw Ocean Music Project, a series of albums based on Ian Urbina's best-selling book, The Outlaw Ocean. More than 400 musical artists from all over the world have been expressing their reactions to the book with original music, and more new albums are released each month. The book itself chronicles Urbina's experiences while spending about four years at sea, documenting the lawlessness and horrendous crimes being committed on, in and near the world's ocean waters. I read the book shortly after I heard about it and was profoundly affected by what I read, so I wanted to do what I could to help spread the word about both the book and this music.
I have been reviewing Thad Fiscella's music since his 2006 debut album, Grand Design, and am a very big fan of his music as well as his sensitive and caring heart. He explains how he approached this album:
"Music is a great mediator between knowledge and heart. Music has a way of displaying truth, while also conveying emotion through musical stories that draws attention in very unique ways. As I think back through all the tales told in the book — all the hardships, anger, sorrow and fear — so much is shared in The Outlaw Ocean. I found the writings of Ian easy to envision in my mind, allowing me to ponder about those he wrote about and what they must have been experiencing emotionally. This helped me write music that conveyed much of what I felt as I read page after page, and ultimately attempted to tell the stories and hardships of those that suffer at sea through my music."
Inner Voices begins with "Castaway," a poignant and bittersweet piece that gently expresses longing and sadness - deeply emotional and very beautiful. "Chasing the Wind" opens with the sound of the ocean and a very spare piano intro. The main part of the piece is more energetic and flowing with just the right amount of drama to get your attention and draw you in. "Longing" can pertain to many things, but the book often describes the longing for a better life for the people who sign up to be on fishing boats for months and even years at a time when there are very few options to keep themselves and their families afloat financially. The piece with that title is haunting and very expressive, with the sound of the ocean adding atmosphere and context. "The Escape" is as intense as it is beautiful, becoming more peaceful and relaxed near the end. "Whisperings" begins with the sounds of a storm at sea, becoming increasingly more dreamy and tranquil even though the rain continues - a quiet and soothing ending to a great EP.
Inner Voices is available digitally and to stream from Amazon, Apple/iTunes, Spotify and others. You can read more about it and the other albums in the project at https://www.theoutlawoceanmusic.com/. Highly recommended!
August 20, 2021