Windy & Carl are an ambient group based in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A.
Cited as "A leading light of the Michigan space-rock scene" by Allmusic, the minimalist group formed in 1993 around the core husband-and-wife duo of guitarist Carl Hultgren and bassist/singer Windy Weber. (Most of the band's pieces feature no vocals, however.) The band was prolific from the outset up to 2001, whereupon they took a hiatus of a few years.
The music of Windy & Carl borrows heavily from the sounds of 1980s era bands on 4AD Records, specifically that of Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins and various other dream pop and shoegazer acts.
Unlike noteworthy prior drone/ambient artists (such as Cluster, Brian Eno, Popol Vuh, et al.), Windy & Carl's drones are primarily derived from guitar, particularly via usage of delay effects, reverb effects, and E-Bow, rather than synthesizers. Another noteworthy aspect of W&C's sound is the absence of drums.
"Hultgren first began recording instrumental guitar drone pieces in 1992, when he self-released a cassette tape named Portal before teaming up with Weber". It was later reissued on CD by BaDaBing owner Ben Goldberg. Windy & Carl then participated in Darla Records' Bliss Out Series in 1997, contributing the maxi-EP Antarctica. That year, they also issued the limited-edition album/maxi-EP A Dream of Blue on U.K. label Ochre Records, with individually painted cover art by Weber (on the 10" vinyl version). Depths was released by Kranky in early 1998.
In 1999, the couple teamed up with synthesist Greg Gasiorowski to record under the name Five Way Mirror. They released a few singles under that moniker, in addition to Transcendence, a 1999 full-length album. Consciousness came out on Kranky in 2001. The band then went on hiatus (after Weber's mom died), returning with Dream House/ Dedications to Flea in 2005. (Flea was their recently deceased dog.) There was a singles compilation released in 2001, Introspection, which is 3 CDs of singles, live tracks and previously unreleased recordings.
In 2006, they released Akimatsuri, a one track (33:16 min) limited album under their label Blue Flea. It was recorded at their home between March and October 2006. The unique track is made up of 5 subtracks.
Windy & Carl have been a mainstay of the various Terrastock music festivals. In the fall of 2000 they released a CD with The Lothars, titled & Windy & Carl & The Lothars that featured live performances by each band from the San Francisco Terrastock festival as well as a 28-minute collaborative piece recorded at the London Terrastock festival.
The group has issued several other split recordings as well as a 3-CD box set, Introspection: Singles & Rarities 1993-2000. They embarked on a national tour in the summer of 2001 with Landing; the bands released a split tour-only EP to commemorate it. A highlight of this tour was being able to perform a private audience show for Sonic Youth.
October 2008 saw the release of Songs for the Broken Hearted - their 4th album in 11 years for Kranky.
Hultgren and Weber run a record store in Dearborn, called Stormy Records.
Windy & Carl's influence can be heard in bands such as Landing, The Sight Below, Kranky labelmates White Rainbow, Growing, and Yume Bitsu.
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