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
(Lotus Eaters) Imagined Promenade for Mr. Flower
(Wandering Rocks) Shamefaced Peaches
(Oxen of the Sun) Boyaboy
(Nausicaa) Gerty’s Lament
(Cyclops) Beware of Garryowen
(Ithaca) Laughinglike (Unconquered Hero)
Also check out for more geek-specific explanations and tangents:
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)