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Ten songs rooted in free jazz and including funk, taize, folk, etc, inspired by themes from Joyce's classically impossible novel
84 backers pledged $2,970 to help bring this project to life.
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The Ulysses Project: a free jazz suite project video thumbnail
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Now that I've introduced myself awkwardly over video, allow me the slightly more affluent textual introduction: I'm a guitarist in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Ulysses Project is my debut album - it's a suite of ten songs that are the product of my obsession with the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. And the best part is that I somehow roped in a ridiculously awesome group of people to play with me and indulge my tangents on (for example) evil racist dogs, how-Stephen-is-depressed-but-really-just-like-you-and-me, masochistic gender swaps, etc.

These amazing personages are none other than: Derek Worthington, trumpet; Patrick Booth, tenor and soprano saxophones; Ben Willis, bass; Jon Taylor, drums; and Kirsten Carey, guitar (that's me!). Featuring: Corey Smith, wordsmith/keyboards and Heidi Madagame, male tenor impersonator extraordinare

(We are releasing one video a week for the duration of the campaign - stay tuned!)

With this collection of songs, I hope to reach a much larger audience than those who normally listen to free jazz, or those who have geeked out over Ulysses, or the even smaller circle of the common ground between those groups. I hope to create an album where the reference work creates a palette of tones, ideas, and (hopefully) emotions that are accessible to everyone. I'm still humbled by remembering the people (who hadn't read Ulysses) that came up to me after the first performance of the suite and said the last song made them cry...

And though I am marketing the album as "free jazz", I rather despise labeling like that, since a lot of stylings of rock, funk, soul, etc. have crept into the music. "Boyaboy" in particular does with music genres what Joyce does with the English language in "Oxen of the Sun": it travels through as comprehensive and long a list of musical styles as one sextet can muster, including monk chants, turn-of-the-century Irish bar songs, metal, bebop, funk, disco, blues... and on and on and on.

The live version of the suite contains text in between songs, to provide context for the proceeding song, as well as to add a dramatic element that makes the live experience different than the album. Here is the track listing, as well as the chapters of the excerpts that accompany them:

(Sirens) Seaside Girls/Who Goes With Fergus

(Proteus) Dedalus

(Lotus Eaters) Imagined Promenade for Mr. Flower

(Wandering Rocks) Shamefaced Peaches

​(Circe) Musksweat

(Oxen of the Sun) Boyaboy

(Nausicaa) Gerty’s Lament

(Cyclops) Beware of Garryowen

(Ithaca) Laughinglike (Unconquered Hero)

​(Penelope) O

Also check out for more geek-specific explanations and tangents:

www.kirstencareymusic.com/ulysses

www.theulyssesproject.tumblr.com

Risks and challenges

In order to make this ultimate geek-dream a reality, there is unfortunately the Money Factor. I need to cover the costs of booking a recording studio, hiring an engineer, mixing, mastering, distributing (physically and electronically), and paying for artwork. Any contribution makes a difference and is worthy of as many thank-yous as my guitar-stiffened fingers can type/write. $2,800 is a minimum amount: it's likely that some costs will come out of my own studentpocket. And in the event that we raise more than needed, it will fund a tour in the fall of 2013 or winter of 2014 and help us travel to further and more magical horizons than the cozy abodes of the midwest.

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    A physical album for you to cuddle as you please, plus a cyber thank you

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    An album signed by all those involved, an early download of the album, and a thank you letter sent the good ol' fashioned way

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    All of the above, and a signed poster (which might be slightly harder to cuddle than the CD, but will definitely impress all your friends)

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    All of the above: the signed album, the full preview download, the thank you letter, the signed poster - AND a nifty DVD of the Duderstadt studio recordings

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    All of the above (yes, ALL of it!) plus a mention in the "thank you" section of the album

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    All of the above (even more than the last time!) and two front row tickets to the album release concert

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A signed CD, a signed poster, a preview download, a thank you letter, a mention in the "thank you" section, tickets to the album release concert, AND a copy of a swanky book collecting text, art, and leadsheets from the album

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    All of the $150 awards, plus Heidi and I will come to your parlour room and sing "Seaside Girls," thereby making you completely forget it's not the year 1904, followed by a pleasant evening at the pub. (Location is a factor of course - transportation fees for outside the Ann Arbor/Detroit area may apply.)

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    $150 awards plus a full performance of the suite in the comfort of your own home. And then we'll have a serious hang and geek out about Ulysses (because chance are, if you're donating $500 you're quite the Ulysses enthusiast. Or music enthusiast. Either way.)
    (Again, additional transportation fees may apply.)

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Funding period

- (35 days)