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Lo-fi music

Music Sound

Lo-fi music

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Lo-fi music is a musical genre which uses lo-fi recording practices. The aim is to sound authentic, rather than over-produced. Many lo-fi artists use inexpensive cassette tape recorders for their music.

Lo-fi's roots date back to The Beach Boys (the Smiley Smile album), The Beatles and Buddy Holly (Holly recorded some songs in a converted garage). As a genre, lo-fi is mainly associated with recordings from the 1980s onwards, when cassette technology such as Tascam's four-track Portastudio became widely available. Prime early exponents included Daniel Johnston, Beat Happening and the label K Records, and the New Zealand music scene around the Tall Dwarfs and Flying Nun Records. Lo-fi found a wider audience with the success of Beck, Sebadoh, Pavement, Eric's Trip, and Elliott Smith.

Often lo-fi artists will record on old or poor recording equipment, originally out of financial necessity but now mainly due to the unique aural qualities available from the technologies. Many artists associated with the lo-fi movement, such as Bill Callahan or Bob Log III, have frequently rejected the use of finer recording equipment, trying to keep their sound raw instead, whereas others such as Guided By Voices and The Mountain Goats slowly moved to using professional studios.

Lo-fi techniques are espoused by some genres outside the indie rock rock world, particularly by black metal artists, where the very low-quality of the recording has become almost a desirable quality, said by fans to convey a rawness and depth of feeling otherwise unattainable. Some fans deliberately seek out extremely lo-fi concert bootlegs, such as the infamous Dawn Of The Black Hearts, which are of such low quality as to defy normal conceptions of music.

DIY Punk is also well noted for its trend toward lo-fi sound, produced for the most part on inexpensive four-track machines such as the Tascam, and copied from tape to tape on home recording equipment, degrading the quality still further. In DIY Punk lo-fi is prized mainly because it indicates a rejection of the values of commercialism.

In addition to aesthetic motivations, many bands and artists have produced lo-fi recordings for financial reasons. The use of time and equipment in a recording studio can be prohibitively expensive for artists in the early stages of their career, though in recent years digital recording techniques and equipment have put studio-quality recording within the reach of more people, at least in the Western / European countries where the "indie" aesthetic originates.

See also

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Alternative rock
Alternative metal - Britpop - C86 - College rock - Dream pop - Gothic rock - Grebo - Grunge - Indie pop/Indie rock - Industrial rock - Lo-fi - Madchester - Math rock - Noise pop - Paisley Underground - Post-punk revival - Post-rock - Riot Grrrl - Sadcore - Shoegazing - Space rock - Twee pop
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History - Indie (music)

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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