Odysseus is one of the main archetypes of world culture, the embodiment of the diverse human spirit, its strength and weakness, physicality and spirituality. He is a loving husband and lover, an intellectual who knows the world, a merciless killer, a brave warrior, and a deserter.
Odysseus uses his mind, will, and courage to return to Ithaca. But this is not a banal return from a business trip, but a metaphor for a long and painful journey of a person through an endless universe full of cruel monsters and capricious gods, to his Home, the only place in the Universe where a person can feel free, loved and embodied.
Countless musicians, writers, and poets turned to the multifaceted figure of Odysseus to convey this ancient myth's content in the artistic language of their era. Today, the album Ulysses has been released by ambient composer Dionis Afonichev (Dionisaf) who lives in the American city of Oxford (Mississippi).
These are six minimalistic and free-flowing compositions named after the main adventures of the Homeric hero: Lotus-eaters, Cyclops, Circe, Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, Ithaca. Dionis managed to create music that takes the listener into the timeless space of myth.
You feel ancient horror when you get into the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, you hear how drops of water flow down the stones of this stone prison, or maybe the blood of your friends killed by the one-eyed monster. The composition Lotus-eaters turns you from a person into a plant that sways limply in the hypnotic rhythm of the wind, freed from the burden of human freedom and the burden of consciousness.
The further you float through the cosmic landscape of the album, the denser the weaves of rhythm and harmonies become. You hear the inhuman voices of the sirens promising the most desirable and intimate things, and you feel the ever-hungry gaze of Scylla and Charybdis on your skin as if two black holes are looking for you through the entire Universe to tear and devour you. And it seems there will be no way out of this darkness and despair. But then you swim into the final composition Ithaca, and through the rumble of cold space, the sounds of the human world begin to emerge: the barking of dogs, the chirping of birds, the rustling of trees.
This short album, built on the repetitive motifs of water, rustling, and swishing, has not only musical value but also a psychotherapeutic effect. We have found ourselves in a new world, having lost what was our home and normal human life. And now we, as veterans of the Trojan War, are sailing through time and space, hoping to regain our Ithaca and endure the upcoming battles with cruel monsters. And the music of the album Ulysses by Dionis Afonichev will be just the right soundtrack for this journey.
Reviewed by Maksim Zhuk - associate professor, independent scholar, host of the Literary Internet radio ZHUK-FM Translated by Iuliia Rychkova