Some small chords on a piano, a saw singing sadly; the first twenty-something seconds of Defenestration set the tone and atmosphere for the thirteen songs that follow. The debut of Homemade Empire on Subroutine Records is one of darkness, decay and sadness. Sad but not without a sense of hope, or as Bart De Kroon puts it himself on Hidden Knife I could have settled on heartaches and big mistakes/But instead I enjoyed the view.
Laid-back lofi folk songs that bring a comforting sadness. A comfort comparable to the warmth of autumn, to use a worn out comparison to describe music this time of the year. De Kroon keeps it small, even smaller than on the self-released A Brilliant Window Niche from 2010. This partly because Defenestration was mostly recorded live in one-takes with only one microphone, while the predecessor had several overdubs with Kroon playing all instruments himself. On this album De Kroon has surrounded himself with some friends, which also forces him in a more song-like atmosphere. The artist himself describes A Brilliant Window Niche as “a collection of sketches and experiments”, something which Defenestration clearly is not. Songs with a head and a tail, finished, on a record which has the same ambiance throughout all the songs.
What mostly defines the sound of Homemade Empire is the clear choice for analog recording. The warmth of the tape recordings, taking in the background noises while recording and leaving the mistakes in the mix. In word and music Defenestration seems to be far from the radical act of defenestration. There is no throwing people out of windows, no call nor cry for revolution in the tunes. Rather does Defenestration give a reassuring sound for the certain coming of decay and death. Great songs built up out of small gestures.