Windy and Carl – We Will Always Be

Posted by | Monday, March 19th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Ambient | Music | | | |

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hey look! kranky records’ windy and carl made more music (their first full length since 2008)! it’s a long break, but i really can’t complain as it seems to be their normal gestation period between major releases; a slow and languidly turning release schedule to match the slow and languid flow of the music itself.

“we will always be” starts off in the most simple and un-gravitas-tic (yes i made that up, and it is awesome) of ways via the unpretentious acoustic guitar and vocal centric “for rosa”. if windy and carl cared about making hits, this is about as close as they’ll get. mostly though it works as a musically grounded opener before the constituent elements float off into space* as “remember”‘s vocal ooh’s slowly give way to layers and layers of cavern echo guitars (guitars?) and faux satellite transmissions. “remember” in turn acts as a perfect transition piece as the record moves into longer and longer periods of beautiful drones and shiny hums that stretch out for the remainder of the album. while specific instruments are identifiable here and there – e.g. “nature of memories”‘ spoken word and distorted guitars – the album’s best moments are where the entirety of the sonic spectrum is at its most abstract, resulting in what might be described as an abstract emotionality. imagine a sonified james turrell lightspace or rothko canvas and we’re partway there.  it easily evokes emotional responses, but nothing that could be defined as easily as saying “happy” or “sad” or even “melancholy”. this is a good thing. if planetary orbits had a sound*, then it would sound like this. to whit: “spires” and “the smell of old books”.

as the previous paragraph bears witness, it is next to impossible to explain via words what “we will always be” sounds like (lightspaces? orbits? is this guy serious?), so i’ll make another attempt via comparison to touchstones from the kranky catalog: whereas the music of label mates stars of the lid’s smeared and slowed down orchestral works seem downright literal despite their abstract nature, windy and carl tread in what my ears hear as even more abstract environments: their reverbs aren’t definable spaces – a church, a bedroom – and thus become another instrument in their own right. yet there is still a layer of human grit (we could call it lo-fi, maybe?) across its sonic surface. it thus exists somewhere in between sotl’s glossier sheen and some of tim hecker’s ultra-compressed grind.

an entire third of the album’s running time is absorbed by album closer “fainting in the presence of the lord”. it’s worth it, and makes perfect sense. back to the orbiting planets analogy*, the song lengths work well in this context as some make their orbits quickly, while some at the outer edge of the system take forever to make their journey; and every one is worth the trip. recommended!

*an aside: it’s curious that this sort of music always reminds me of outer space, when i know – thanks to a cursory knowledge of physics – that space doesn’t actually perpetuate sound at all. kinda goes to show how the artistic assumptions that humans make fill in for actual fact and experiment. anyway…go buy the record.

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