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Kirsten Carey

Detroit, MI            

Kirsten Carey is a guitarist, composer, and performer. She was raised in Chicago, IL and, after two years in Los Angeles, presently resides in Detroit, MI. She’s most well-known for playing the guitar solo on clipping.’s “Stab Him in the Throat” for the Emmy Award-winning television show Rick and Morty. Her primary projects include the angular no-wave duo Throwaway, the classical-rock-improv Uroboros Sextet, and the Ulysses Project – a suite based on James Joyce’s novel that combines free jazz, rock, and theater. Carey’s work plays with the boundary between music and the more theatrical and presentational aspects of performance, and constantly tampers with the idea of “genre.”

In 2019, Carey was awarded a grant to study the shamisen in Japan by the Asian Cultural Council. She was a resident artist at the 2018 Co-Incidence Festival in Boston, MA, attended the 2018 Banff Jazz & Creative Music Workshop, and has been a featured performer at the International Society of Improvised Music Conference. Her composition “Sasquatch / Happening” is featured on Clean Feed Record’s solo guitar compilation I Never Meta Guitar III, curated by celebrated guitarist Elliott Sharp. Carey has shared the stage with Tyshawn Sorey, Okkyung Lee, Elliott Sharp, Fay Victor, Val Jeanty, Graham Haynes, Andrew Bishop, Wadada Leo Smith, Weasel Walter, Thollem McDonas, James Ilgenfritz, and Karl Berger, among others. Her groups have also opened for the Sun Ra Arkestra, Thumbscrew, and Anthony Pirog. She has been written up in Downbeat, All About Jazz, the Detroit Metro Times, the Detroit News, Ghettoblaster, the New York Jazz Record, Pulp, Current Magazine, and more.

Kirsten earned her BFA in Jazz & Contemplative Studies (focusing on guitar) in 2014 at the University of Michigan, working primarily with Frank Portolese, Andrew Bishop, and Geri Allen. Other educational happenstances include a month-long study of Carnatic music in Mysore, India under Guru MK Saraswati, as well as  the School of Improvised Music Program at NYU in 2013 where she studied with Tony Malaby, Tom Rainey, Tim Berne, and Brad Shepik. 

“The Curious Proposition of Dr. Napoleon” (Demo)

Demo by Kirsten Carey’s non-idiomatic sextet project, the Uroboros Sextet.

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Throwaway, “Bonathan Jyers”

Music video for the song “Bonthan Jyers” by Carey’s experimental rock duo, Throwaway, featuring tape distortion by clipping.’s William Hutson. Video by Obscura Broadcasting Company.

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Apple Piece

Performance art / musical composition “Apple Piece,” performed as part of the the co-incidence festival in 2018.

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