A leading light in Michigan's space rock scene, Windy & Carl's atmospheric ambience was created by guitarist Carl Hultgren and bassist Windy Weber. Hultgren first began recording instrumental guitar drone pieces in 1992, when he self-released a cassette tape named Portal before teaming up with Weber. By the end of 1993, the duo had issued a single, "Watersong," on the musicians' own Blue Flea label. Once Dreamt appeared in 1995, as did a reissued version of Portal (complete with new material). Drawing of Sound and Depths followed in 1995 and 1998, respectively. By this point, Windy & Carl had joined the roster at Kranky Records, and 1999 saw the duo collaborating with synthesist Greg Gasiorowski and releasing the album Five Way Mirror. 2000 saw the release of more new material, as the group appeared at London's Terrastock and recorded their fourth album, Consciousness. Windy & Carl took a hiatus in 2001 while the couple continued to run their record store, Stormy Records, in Dearborn, Michigan.
The duo returned to their songwriting project in early 2005, first paying tribute to a recently departed dog (Dedications to Flea, a limited-edition release on the Brainwashed label) before releasing a dreamy, ambitious effort entitled The Dream House. Kranky also packaged the albums together, and the label later released Windy & Carl's fourth Kranky-affiliated effort, Songs for the Broken Hearted, in 2008. During the time leading up to and directly following Songs for the Broken Hearted, the group experienced a surge of new listenership, sparked in part by successful Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox repeatedly referencing in interviews how influential Windy & Carl's early recordings were to him. This piqued the curiosity of new fans and earned the record a broader audience and critical acclaim, with more media coverage than usual for the duo. They returned in 2012 with We Will Always Be, a full-length of collaborations based on intimate solo recordings by Hultgren, initially gifted to Weber as a Valentine's Day present.
~ Jason Ankeny