Windy & Carl

Introspection: Singles and Rarities 1993-2000

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Though Windy & Carl had built up a strong series of albums and lengthy EPs toward the turn of the millennium and after, their hushed, enveloping guitar/bass/vocal power had already cropped up on any number of singles and compilations throughout the decade. Reflective of the duo's near-constant creative energies, it's a striking series of songs that received a long overdue but welcome release on Introspection, a three-CD overview of the many "lost" tracks from the two. Roughly divided into a disc each for singles, compilations, and live and otherwise unavailable songs, it's at once an exhaustive box set for the hyperfan and a compelling listen in its own right (though newcomers would probably best start with efforts like Depths and A Dream of Blue). It starts right from the very beginning with the debut "Watersong"/"Dragonfly" 1993 single and continues on. Much like the Smiths' peerless Louder Than Bombs compilation, Introspection feels of a piece despite being recorded over many years, ranging from the short and downright poppy "Universal Energy" (provided in two versions) to the quarter-hour instrumental zone "Underground." Standouts abound -- to name a few, there's the strong, mesmerizing demo version of "Lighthouse," arguably better than the officially released version; the grand, murky Silver Apples cover "Program"; and the extremely personal declarations of love "Ballast" and "Fuzzy." The four-song radio set that starts the final disc is also a keeper, each song effortlessly blending into the next and demonstrating Windy & Carl's ability to extend their reach in a live setting. The chatty liner notes from the duo are both informative and friendly while the slew of singles artwork and photos are also worthy, making the release -- which the two put out on their own small label, Blue Flea -- all that much more a labor of love.

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