- Micheal Larsen - Voice
- J.T. Bates - Drums
- Jeremy Ylvisaker - Guitar
- Casey O'Brien - Bass
Even if it could be debilitated, it's teeth are already lodged deep enough to rip a healthy piece of the empire apart as it falls. Carbon Carousel's untamed, unpolished, unapologetic and ravishingly abrasive sound is more of an attack on your whole psychosomatic network, than it is something to nonchalantly listen to while you do the dishes. Starting out purely improvising in a free jazz-meets-freestyle rap-meets-noise rock-meets-anything they feel like playing at the moment-frame, Carbon Carousel has expanded and refined their ideas of compositional improvisation into songs, and sketches there of, that explore the dynamics of all feeling, never sacrificing intensity for appeal. With Jeremy Ylvisaker's biting guitars screeching through layers of feedback, Casey O'Brien's heavy stomach punching bass, J.T. Bates' overtly manic drumming, and Micheal Larsen's 'out of his face and into yours' vocal delivery, you get the melodic and the dissonant, the loud and the soft, the joy and the pain, the panic and the reserve, and the collective attempt to smash a hole in the petty, contrived, edgeless core of modern pop music.
Soaking up the hip hop of the late eighties and early nineties, Micheal found a means of expression that not only rebelled against the function of society he was growing to despise, but also encouraged self exploration. He began freestyling at age twelve, and by the time he was fifteen, he was winning M.C. battles around the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. In 1997, under the stage name Eyedea, he and good friend Maxx Keltgen (D.J. Abilities) started writing, producing, recording, and performing songs as Eyedea & Abilities. Soon there after, E&A joined local supergroup-turned-record label Rhymesayers Entertainment. Eyedea continued to win local and national freestyle battles (including Scribble Jam, Blaze Battle, and RockSteady Anniversary) until 2001 when E&A's critically acclaimed full length debut, First Born was released. After touring the U.S. several times, Micheal released a self produced solo album titled The Many Faces of Oliver Hart Or: How Eye Won the Write Too Think in 2002. In 2004 he teamed up with D.J. Abilities once again to create their most successful album to date: E&A. Released on Rhymesayers Entertainment through exclusive license to monster indie-label Epitaph, E&A provided Eyedea & Abilities with means to successfully tour Europe, and also landed them opening slots on Wu-Tang Clan's 10 year reunion and the Coachella Arts and Music Festival. After a year of marginal success, Micheal learned that he actually wanted to focus more on music itself, and less on the business of selling music. This is when he dived into his song writing with his hands behind his back, landing head first into the increasingly sparse, open ended, and most importantly, honest, approach to song writing, that you now hear with Carbon Carousel. Wanting to say more by saying less, he sought out musicians that possessed their own unique voices, that could reinforce an idea, and also tell it from their own perspective, without being bound by the world of words. At early inception, this concept was put to work by freestyle rapping with potent free jazz figures J.T. Bates on drums, and Casey O'Brien on electric bass.
Since the early nineties J.T. has been one of the hardest working musicians in the Twin Cities (not to mention one of the most talented). He has performed with many nationally and internationally renown artists including: Anthony Cox, Airto, Tony Malaby, Craig Taborn, Michael Formanek, Robert Skoro, Beniot Delbecq, Jim Anton, Dean Magraw, Wessell Anderson, Rodney Whitaker, Dick Oatts, David Freidman, Evan Parker and Dosh. With the collective trio, Fat Kid Wednesdays (Mike Lewis-Saxaphone, Adam Linz-Bass, J.T.-Drums), he has performed at many international jazz festivals in the U.S. as well as in France and Spain. Some of these include the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Heineken Jazz Fest (Spain), Son D’Hiver (Paris), Europe Jazz (Le Mans), Festival Dancing in Your Head (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), Minnesota Sur Seine, and the Iowa City Jazz Festival. Outside of his work with Carbon Carousel, J.T. can regularly be found performing around the Twin Cities with many bands including Fat Kid Wednesdays, Alpha Consumer (Jeremy Ylvisaker-Guitar/Voice, Mike Lewis-Bass, J.T. Bates-Drums) These Modern Socks, the Regional Jazz Trio, and Dubsack. J.T.'s unique and instantly recognizable style of playing coupled with his ability to play such a wide range of musical styles without so much as a periodic blink, makes him a master at the art of improvising, and further more, an extremely powerful element on stage as well as in the studio. This is pretty much common knowledge among those in the know, which is why he has been the first choice session drummer for recordings with Michel Portal (Universal Jazz France), John Gorka (Red House Records), Tony Hymas (Hope Street), and singer/songwriter Alex Ward (Mary Ellen). Wether playing jazz, rock, dub, electronica inspired break beats, or the off kilter, at times explosively violent fills of a Carbon Carousel song, J.T. has enough soul to break your heart, enough angst to break a stick, and enough "Fuck You!" to break your face.
Casey has had his hands buried within the avant-garde for what could be considered the better half of forever. Son of experimental trumpeter John O'Brien, Casey's accomplishments in the realms of producing, engineering, and sound and web design, in addition to his 'all guts all glory' bass playing, have contributed to the construction of the "renaissance man" his peers catch an eye full of upon gazing into his world. He has studied bass with many world class players, finding his upright chops with Anthony Cox, and honing his structure collapsing electric sound with Jim Anton. He is the producer and bass player for the schizophrenic hip-hop act Abzorbr, and he also finds himself one half of Dial_System, a subversive experiment with electronica and noise. With the spirit of free jazz shooting out of his fingers, Casey can take his sound from heavily distorted sludge to quiet and obsessively articulate arpeggiation, in and out of time, with seemingly effortless movement. In the case of Carbon Carousel, all this might happen before the first chorus.
In early 2005, Micheal, J.T., and Casey performed as a trio (sometimes inviting a few M.C.s to sit in) throughout the Midwest, stabbing audiences with a set of completely off the wall improvisation. By 2006 they were searching for another ingredient to add to their new found dynamic. With the direction of their music becoming more and more definitive, they had an idea of what element could bring their sound to a new level, although no one could have guessed that this element would bring everything into a totally uncharted world. Enter the perilous pandemonium of Jeremy Ylvisaker.
Got noise? Listening to Jeremy's guitar playing is similar to being frozen in the climax of a helicopter accident. He will drag you teeth first through a whirlwind of gentle screams and ecstatic howls, waking you into his tension, violence and urgency, only to show you the undeniable beauty that underlies all melancholy. Ever-since starting his first band The PaperClips to perform at his sixth grade talent show, Jeremy has been using his guitar as a sharp object, tearing through walls of sound and letting the listener glue the remains back together in their own head. This compulsive presence also captivates when his hands are on anything from bass, pedal steel, keyboards, samplers and turntables, to playful children's toys, odd electronic devices and even television sets. In addition to all this, for the past fifteen years, Jeremy has been singing, writing, producing, and engineering music with bands including Fog, Andrew Bird, Barbara Cohen, Mark Mallman, The Melismatics, Hymie’s Basement, Dosh, Lateduster, Detroit, Hockey Night, Greazy Meal and more recently, his own bite your lip and smile rock band Alpha Consumer (mentioned above). Jeremy fits right in to a universe where nothing fits right in, and stands as a major pillar in Carbon Carousel's ear bleeding, ritual jarring, boundary nihilism.