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Lo-Fi Music: A Detailed Guide

Lo-Fi music appears in the late 80s and becomes a real sub-genre of indie rock and hip-hop. Undoubtedly, it refers to niche music, the consumer of which is a limited group of music fans.

First, let’s look at exactly what Lo-Fi means. This term is nothing but an abbreviation for Low Fidelity. This word denotes all bad musical works made using low-quality technical instruments at the recording stage. This may be due to a lack of financial resources or due to a conscious personal choice. In fact, there are many music producers who voluntarily decide to release Lo-Fi songs. Unlike Lo-Fi music, there is standard music defined as H-Fi or high fidelity.

The popularity of Lo-Fi music dates back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. Its characteristic is “dirty” and not clean sound, like in classical compositions. The desire to produce in Lo-Fi today stems from the aesthetic choice you want to give to a piece. Also, this type of sound is part of indie rock and hip hop.

Between the 80s and 90s, all of this was made possible by the technological development of professional recording tools that let you have four analog tracks. These instruments also made it possible at the time to record on cassette tapes rather than on reel-to-reel tapes as was the case in those years. Lo-Fi music arrives on the music market first with great international artists.

This type of sound also suits the new hip-hop school that has decided to embrace it. Essentially, the street genre is beginning to be characterized by distorted basses and rough beats.

Paradoxically, but today Lo-Fi music is experiencing a rebirth. The history and aesthetics of the genre show that lo-fi is more than just calm beats.

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Lo-Fi music didn’t magically appear at night, but the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly contributed to its recent resurgence. “Low quality” music is disappearing on various YouTube channels, and is characterized by a retro tinge produced by certain equipment and analog sound generators (or their processing).

Lo-Fi music is, in a sense, an attitude to life – more relaxed. Sit back, relax and slow down, even if you live in a metropolis. The essence of real art is to feel different than others. The genre aesthetic of Lo-Fi music, as well as its inherent sonic characteristics and arrangements, is a conscious and focused contrast to the hyper-perfectionist mainstream.

Another reason for the popularity of this music was the development and wide distribution of the hip-hop genre, which a priori does not imply the creation of a highly professional sound. If someone has doubts, then in this case, just refer to the history of hip-hop and everything will become clear to you.

The development of Lo-Fi today is also due to the pandemic with the quarantine restrictions associated with it. Not every member of the music industry, who is banned from live communication with the audience at concerts by quarantine rules, will be able to find sufficient funds to record their songs in a professional studio. And there are a lot of such artists, as well as the musical Lo-Fi content they create.

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