The Ulysses Project is a suite dedicated to exploring the themes and the evolution of the characters in James Joyce's modernist classic Ulysses. The Project consists of ten songs arising from a variety of stylistic influences, from Ornette Coleman to rock to funk to taize hymns. The music is characterized, however, by an emphasis on free improvisation within constraints, in an attempt to create a musical interpretation of Joyce’s meticulously chaotic prose.
The plot of the Ulysses Project is somewhat different from the that of Ulysses itself. The Ulysses Project is both a celebration of Bloom and a jest at his expense. As the music journeys with Bloom through his day, it juxtaposes the ways he sees himself (or tries to see himself) against the cruel mockery
others regard him with. There is also at
least one song devoted to the remorse
and unfulfilled desires of each main
character ("Dedalus," "Rudy" /
"Laughinglike," "O"). I tried to get
inside Joyce’s delicate balance of
humor and mockery, lighthearted
curiosity and solemnity. The
conflict between the many
different tones and voices in
Ulysses is perhaps one of its most
remarkable qualities, along with its
notorious association with stream
of consciousness writing - which is
where improvisation comes in.
In April 2013, the Ulysses Project successfuly reached its
Kickstarter goal of $2800, and was released October 5, 2013
The album features:
Kirsten Carey, guitar
Patrick Booth, tenor and soprano saxophones
Derek Worthington, trumpet
Ben Willis, bass
Jonathan Taylor, drums
Also featuring: Heidi Madagame (voice), Corey Smith (narration/
keyboards), Eric Schweizer (baritone saxophone), and
Caroline Buse (violin)
PRAISE FOR THE ULYSSES PROJECT!
“A manic journey of eerie beauty.” - [art]seen
“Ten tracks of avant-garde eclecticism perfectly in the mood of the novel with its ‘painstaking and
meticulous chaos’... powerful… [with] detailed clarity penetrating deep into the atmosphere…
Fresh, relevant, clearly a success… A musical eclecticism that attracts attention, brings the fun of
listening and analysis, motivates and inspires.” - Alterego Magazine
"Kirsten Carey is a unique musician who will most definitely cut her own path through the current
maze that is Jazz and Improvised Music. Her playing and her music is smart, direct, and engaging.
Her compositions reveal a thoughtful and curious mind, and a willingness to take on large forms
with big ideas, and enough craft to piece it all together into highly listenable and satisfying structures.
I have no doubt that Kirsten will continue to grow and develop, and will build upon what appears to be
a perfect foundation from which to launch an exciting life and career in music." - Michael Formanek
"Kirsten Carey's ‘Ulysses Project’ is one of my top five favorite recordings of 2013.
Carey's compositions strike that rare balance: smart and sophisticated
while remaining intuitive, organic and just flat out fun.” - Andrew Bishop
"Some books lend themselves to being made into music. James Joyce's Ulysses may not
generally be considered to be one. But it all depends on the kind of music you're looking
to set it to: Kirsten Carey... had the right idea when she decided to put together
a free-jazz suite based on the avant-garde novel." - Pittsburgh City Paper (Critic's Pick)
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