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Windy & Carl - The Dream House / Dedications to Flea

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Artist: Windy & Carl

Album: The Dream House / Dedications to Flea

Label: Kranky

Review date: Feb. 9, 2006

“Comeback” seems far too aggressive a noun to drape over the gentle, ocean-floor laments of The Dream House/Dedications to Flea, Windy and Carl’s first full-length since 2001. A work of symmetry not only in its actual structure (two EPs, each accompanied by an essay and containing a pair of immense tracks) but, sadly, also in its context – twin bereavement: first the death of Windy’s mother in 2001 and four years later the passing of the pair’s beloved pet dog – this set justly reverberates with sorrow, loss and longing. While its booklet packs Windy’s words on the dual moments of mourning, each piece of music floats outside language as pure, silence-absorbing nothingness. Epic elegies dissolved in a bath of warm FX, they channel ache out through e-bow radiance and slow drone sooth.

“The Eternal Struggle” opens The Dream House with a tender bloom of trembling organ tones. Melting bands of delay tangle and offer an amorphous rhythm of refracted guitars before twinkling chimes bring the room back from a world of echo to four cold walls. Glistening guitar lines glide through “I Have Been Waiting to Hear Your Voice,” while soft clusters of electricity hum and shift underneath. Absence in The Dream House is almost made literal, it is felt. On Dedications to Flea, though, a reversal of sorts takes place.

A reissue of a limited edition 500-run CD released as part of Jon Whitney’s Brainwashed Hand Made series, Dedications to Flea comes loaded with snapshots of the eponymous Flea through his 15 years with Windy and Carl providing an indexical mark, the image, of what has been erased. In addition, the disc’s two compositions – “Ode to a Dog” and “Sketches for Flea” – incorporate field recordings of Flea being walked, evidential content made spectral. Panting a wavering pulse, sloshing at his water bowl, gently trampling cracking leaves, he is both a ghostly presence – most slight on “Ode to a Dog” where his grassy footsteps barely register amidst the tremulous lattices of astral strum - and textural element. For one last, and lasting, moment, Windy and Carl restfully swathe him in pedal weep, enveloping his residual traces and preserving them in shimmering sound dust.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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