September 4, 2009

Windy & Carl - Akimatsuri (2006/9, Blue Flea)

This week, the ambient guitar duo Windy & Carl reissued three of their older albums for digital download via Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, etc.; Their first two, pre-Kranky, albums, "Drawing Of Sound" and "Portal", and a limited edition CD from '06 entitled "Akimatsuri". The CD was only available for sale at the Brainwaves festival in Arlington, MA that year, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Brainwashed, and was limited to just 500 copies, each featuring one of ten photographs by Christy Romanick. I was excited to see the album reissued, featuring a previously unreleased bonus track, and even better: is offering the album for only $1.98! The original album itself consists of one 33-minute long track divided into five movements, each with a Japanese title (Akimatsuri meaning "autumn festival"). The tone is lush and melodic, weaving soft patterns of guitar notes and bowed strings, transitioning from calm and soothing to slightly melancholy, as a subdued organ plays alternating chords beneath sliding electric guitar tones. Swells and crests of other-wordly tones rise up in the latter movements of the piece, suggestive of cellos and flutes, but assumably produced by guitar. There is a distinct "falling leaves" vibe; the summer is over. I always enjoy the textures W&C are able to produce from such simple, organic instrumentation, not to mention the fact that they're able to reproduce it flawlessly in their concerts, and "Akimatsuri" does not disappoint. The bonus track "Seiche" offers an additional 5 minute post-script of gentle drones with a warm, meditative feel. C'mon, its only $1.98, check out some great new ambient music!