The Ulysses Project


“A manic journey of eerie beauty”

The Ulysses Project is a suite dedicated to exploring the themes and character arcs in James Joyce's modernist classic, Ulysses. The Project consists of ten songs that reflect a wide palette of genres, from free jazz to rock to funk to taize hymns. The musicians exercise free improvisation within constraints, drawing a musical equivalent to Joyce’s infamous stream of consciousness prose.

To deeper explore the novel, the live version of The Ulysses Project include performative interpretations of the text, which precede the song that prose inspired. The result is somewhere between performance art, a jazz concert, and a theatrical performance.

The performance and music mirrors Joyce’s delicate balance of humor and mockery, lighthearted curiosity and solemnity. The dramatic arc of the Ulysses Project journeys several memorable events of Joyce’s novel, exploring the character’s emotions, perceptions, and misconceptions.

In April 2013, the Ulysses Project successfully reached its Kickstarter goal of $2800. The album 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: Holden Madagame (voice), Corey Smith (narration / keyboards), Eric Schweizer (baritone saxophone), and Caroline Buse (violin)

Reviews 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)