A Brief History of Lo-Fi Music

 

The emergence of lo-fi music in the 1950’s was started by amateur musicians that had low recording budgets. The DIY recording and non-ideal recording venues meant that unnatural distortions occurred. Despite the lack of quality the records had, the lo-fi sound became popular among the masses; it was the character and uniqueness of a song that made it popular, not how faithful of a representation it was. One example of a lo-fi song is Johnny Ace’s ‘My Song’. It was both written and recorded at a radio station. The co-writer David Mattis called it ‘a fifteen minute job’, and when you listen to it you can definitely hear how the rushed recording affected the quality. It has a raw sound with an uneven mix; the drums are too quiet and the piano and saxophone are in a constant battle to be heard. Even so, ‘My Song’ stayed at number one on the Billboard R&B chart in 1952.  

The raw distorted sound of lo-fi music became associated with youth, and musicians started to record tracks using poor equipment on purpose. During the 1980’s and 1990’s the concept of lo-fi was taken to an extreme through genres like Metal.

A good example of this is the song 'Dunkelheit' which was written by the Black Metal musician Varg Vikernes (Burzum) who recorded his album Filosofem in 1993.   

Now...

The 21st century has bought with it a brand new age of technology, and the possibilities for music production and recording practices are constantly evolving. A lot of music avoids mimicking live music with acoustic instruments, and instead uses sounds created with computer software. One extreme example of this is the song “Frogs on Acid” (2008) by Cluekid.

Cluekid - Frogs on Acid

Every sound that makes up the track was created with some form of computer software. The accompanying beat could be comparable to a drum kit, but the bassline/melody is so warped that it can’t even be compared to anything natural or organic let alone a musical instrument.  

Latest Tweets

follow us
BIG NEWS NOW!!! Very excited to announce I’ll be playing a HEADLINE SHOW at on Saturday 1st Februa… https://t.co/LLtqdjmBeW 1 day 17 hours ago
LISTEN LIVE // LAST OF THE WONDER KIDS You can catch performing live at Hoxton Underbelly on the… https://t.co/ALCfLelAng 1 day 20 hours ago
HOT VOX POP QUIZ WITH SLATER! Today's Pop Quiz is about performing live at on the 13th… https://t.co/rKwGAIJHxQ 1 day 23 hours ago
LISTEN LIVE // THE 295 Check out our LISTEN LIVE playlist featuring ! You can catch pe… https://t.co/RNSA2CDqoq 2 days 15 hours ago
I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my gig at the ! It was such an amazing night and I ca… https://t.co/vpSAgT4Mnr 2 days 17 hours ago
Thanks so much, Key! Wish you could have been there too. Hut we kno… https://t.co/euCMRpsmZE 2 days 17 hours ago