Homemade Empire – Defenestration

Simple stuff it may be, but sometimes adding just a little bit extra significantly increases the value of the whole.

http://www.subroutine.nl

A beautiful record, quite literally. I would recommend that – if you like what you hear and want to explore further- you get the LP as it’s a stunning package all told. It makes sense on vinyl, the sensual, linear print is long enough to be folded twice to make a sort of gatefold, and you also get clear vinyl which is quite a trip to watch spinning round on your turntable. See? Digital can’t do everything.

A lot of Defenestration follows the traditional campfire/lullaby patterns beloved of sensitive musical souls the world over. Simple home baked philosophies, soliloquies highlighting private regrets... you know the stuff. The record is a mix of quiet observations which are pretty minimal, both in outlook and in instrumentation. The guitar is pitched (and plucked) high up in the mix, you can often hear the intakes of breath, or the odd muffled thuds when his hand hits the guitar body.

And whilst the stark, whispered tracks like Wisdom Come!, Wind, and Rue Malbee are a bit wide eyed at times, and don’t uncover any surprises in store in terms of subject matter or personality; it’s not a problem, or something that is irritating. It’s charming and not trying to deceive in anyway: the best of these tracks are the stately Staple Back / Soap vs Dreams and Plaid / I’ve Named Them All; both boasting enough twists and turns to engage the listener.

Simple stuff it may be, but sometimes adding just a little bit extra significantly increases the value of the whole. Piano and saw add tone and space on the opener Unread Books, whilst Riparian I Like to Fade is a brilliant example of what a simple tape loop sample can do. A basic and melancholy track, it dissolves into a sort of misty mid tone: in fact I’d go as far to say that, as a winter’s bedside listen, I think this particular track can’t be beaten. Some of the short tracks such as Pollarding or Two Headed Swan Statue are gems too; introspective sketches of sound - getting into Fried territory even if they push the boat out that far.

An intriguing listen and one for winter’s afternoons, for sure.