Lo-Fi is a genre of music typified by a low quality of sound recording. Many lo-fi artists use inexpensive cassette tape recorders. It is a kind of a protest typical for alternative rock.
Birth: 1966 Bloom: 1994
Lo-Fi emerged a long time ago. All earliest rock and roll records (Buddy Holly, The Beach Boys, The Beatles), the `60s garage rock, the late `70s punk rock can be attributed to lo-fi.
However, lo-fi became an independent style in the era of the `80s alternative rock. At that time indie rock musicians preferred to record using old or poor recording equipment.
A wave of the lo-fi popularity was in the 90s due to bands such as Beck, Sebadoh and Pavement.
Nowadays, many bands use the term Lo-Fi attributing it to ID3 music genre tags in order to identify a digital release to the style of calm, quiet and beautiful music with a slow tempo.
Lo-Fi is one of phenomena created by «alternative» with its ideas of «independence». Lo-fi (low fidelity) is special sound aesthetics emerged as an alternative to Hi-Fi (hi-fidelity). At the turn of the 80-90s lo-fi aesthetics gave birth to the independent movement with the same name. Lo-fi artists were against a long and expensive recording process that was usual during the 80-90s. They`ve chosen their ideal - the music of the`60s rock and roll and garage musicians, hard rock artists and punks, who used to make their albums for 8 hours and sell them for fun prices. But in their music was always saved that spontaneity and immediacy of live recording that usually is lost because of a long recording process with endless overdubs, sound processing, smoothing musician`s mistakes, etc (musicians could even record a track separately).
Lo-fi musicians from the 80s preferred to record all instruments and tracks together minimizing a sound processing. They worked at home using semiprofessional four-track recorders without thinking about the «beauty» of sound, but improvising as they wanted. They used to go with their noisy reels to independent record labels, which sometimes managed to release their albums on vinyl. In the early 90s lo-fi aesthetics became popular again and was considered as mainstream, that`s why lo-fi began to be released on CDs (Liz Phair, Beck). On the other hand, it caused the reactionary movement chamber pop that was saturated with arrangements and big amount of instruments.
The most famous lo-fi groups: Guided by Voices, The Magnetic Fields, The Microphones, The Mountain Goats, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pavement, Sebadoh, The Unicorns, Neoangin.
Umbrellate style: Downtempo
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