What were Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren doing back in 1992, when the rest of the world was busy banging its collective head to Alice In Chains? Making their debut album of drifting, dreamy ambient music. On cassette. These days, every would-be ambient-pop auteur with a laptop loaded with Logic can — and do — unleash their own slo-mo electronic sound sculputures upon the world at large, but the Michigan-based husband-and-wife team of Windy and Carl were at the forefront of the American underground ambient scene way before it was on the cool kids’ agenda. And they’ve been at it ever since.
Depending on whether you count 2009’s Instrumentals for the Broken Hearted, an all-instrumental version of the release that preceded it, We Will Always Be is either the duo’s 10th or 11th album, and true to its title, it finds the pair plowing away dutifully and deftly at the furrow that’s been their focus from the beginning. In other words, if some enterprising visual artist were to produce a film that featured the opposite of time-lapse photography, elongating the passage of time by multiples of hundreds or thousands, the luxurious swirl of sounds emerging from We Will Always Be would provide a perfect music bed.
At this point, Windy and Carl are the ambient music world’s version of old bluesmen who have been masters of their craft for decades and refined it to a point of utmost precision, eschewing stylistic experimentation in favor of artistic distillation. The tracks on We Will Always Be are constructed from slow-motion guitar and keyboard drones that seem directly descended from the early-’70s proto-ambient output of Fripp & Eno, with textures hanging langurously in the air long enough for us to hear the gradual changes that occur in them, each aural evolution a little microcosmic marvel of minimalism, with occasional whispered vocals atop it all.