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.
Stephen is teaching a history class on the victories of Pyrrhus of Epirus. After class, one student, Cyril Sargent, stays behind so that Stephen can show him how to do a set of algebraic exercises. Stephen looks at Sargent’s ugly face and tries to imagine Sargent’s mother’s love for him. He then visits unionist school headmaster Garrett Deasy, from whom he collects his pay. Deasy asks Stephen to take his long-winded letter about foot and mouth disease to a newspaper office for printing. The two discuss Irish history and Deasy lectures on what he believes is the role of Jews in the economy. As Stephen leaves, Deasy jokes that Ireland has “never persecuted the Jews” because the country “never let them in”. This episode is the source of some of the novel’s best-known lines, such as Dedalus’s claim that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” and that God is “a shout in the street”.
Nestor is the fourth part of the 24-hour composition ULYSSES.
Concept, composition & sounds by Francesc D. Melis & Antoni Robert.
Featuring Marcelo Acosta (loops from Daily Loops Project).
Artwork by Antoni Robert.
Dalkey railway, Dublin. 2023.
Free download here: https://antonirobert.bandcamp.com/album/nestor-ulysses-part-4