Ithaca is the Twenty-third part of the 24-hour composition ULYSSES.
Concept, composition & sounds by Francesc D. Melis & Antoni Robert.
Artwork by Antoni Robert.
7 Eccles Street, Dublin. 2023.
ULYSSES is a 24 hours composition by Francesc D. Melis and Antoni Robert Gadea.
The project was conceived after the release of L’Esquellot ben Trempat (by Dr. Melis & Dr. Robert), now available at antonirobert.bandcamp.com/album/lesquellot-ben-trempat. In this previous release I composed a work using previously recorded sound material played by Francesc and by myself, combining pieces of sound according to a conceptual guideline. The big amount of sounds available made me think about how to use a relevant part of it, since the process of doing it was very pleasant. As a result of those thoughts and a reference seen by chance of one of my favourite books, James Joyce’s ULYSSES, the idea came soon after: a 24 hours work inspired by Leopold Bloom / Stephen Dedalus 24 hours Dublin wandering. The novel has 18 episodes and 12 locations, while I have broken down the sound in 24 parts (corresponding to the 24 hours). So the 24 parts do not correspond exactly to the episodes or locations, although they follow the novel timeline and path.
The division in parts is necessary because it is not practical to share a 24 hours wav file. It is too big. But as a concept the work is a continuous 24 hours sound flow. Each part begins with a long fade in and ends with a long fade out. Summing up all the durations you will find more than 24 hours. But the work is intended to run for exactly 24 hours. So, the correct way of listening to it is to overlap each fade out with the next part fade in, in a way that the final duration, once all the 24 parts are overlapped, is exactly 24 hours. In order to do that you will have to do the overlapping with a software in a hard disk and connect the hard disk to a player. There’s no other way to store such a big file. Each complete work will be slightly different, because the way of doing the overlapping will have small variations each time. But this is not a problem at all.
ULYSSES is a long soundscape. Some parts are dark ambient, some are noisy, some are electroacoustic or concrete. Most of the sound sources are by the authors, but some other sources have been used, and the musicians are credited when necessary.
The unicorn appears as a reminder that the original working title was “A day in the life of Ulysses, a lonely heart unicorn”.
The work will be released in 24 parts, one part a day along 24 days.
Bloom returns home with Stephen, makes him a cup of cocoa, discusses cultural and linguistic differences between them, considers the possibility of publishing Stephen’s parable stories, and offers him a place to stay for the night. Stephen refuses Bloom’s offer and is ambiguous in response to Bloom’s proposal of future meetings. The two men urinate in the backyard, Stephen departs and wanders off into the night, and Bloom goes to bed, where Molly is sleeping. She awakens and questions him about his day. The episode is written in the form of a rigidly organised and “mathematical” catechism of 309 questions and answers, and was reportedly Joyce’s favourite episode in the novel. The deep descriptions range from questions of astronomy to the trajectory of urination and include a list of 25 men that purports to be the “preceding series” of Molly’s suitors and Bloom’s reflections on them. While describing events apparently chosen randomly in ostensibly precise mathematical or scientific terms, the episode is rife with errors made by the undefined narrator, many or most of which are intentional by Joyce.
Free download here: https://antonirobert.bandcamp.com/album/ithaca-ulysses-part-23