HAS LO-FI BECOME A MUSIC GENRE ?
Let’s be clear : lo-fi is not a music genre. There is no debate on that point. Lo-fi sound is just en aesthetic, a way toproduce music. In fact, the sound recording is in a lower quality than the usual standard for modern music. In a same time, I think it’s a real protest, nearly a revolution. And now you’re going to tell me : « against what » ? Since the apparition of what we can call « modern music », there has been a race for the best quality. But what’s the point in making music, if it’s not to create an emotion ? Why do we need to make the sound really clean, really plain ? The lo-fi is coming back, I think, to protest against the tasteless atmosphere we’re surrounded by. Everything in music, and more, everything in our lives tends to be plain. Lo-fi allow you to be dirty, to listen to dirty music. It is an aesthetic as much as a lifestyle. And it’s everywhere, or at least, in every genre of music.
As you may have seen, Latouch changed his offer this month, and has created music channel. Let’s focus on a lo-fi artist or a lo-fi label for each channel.
As you know, Jack is the electronic music channel. And if we had to pick one artist who brought back lo-fi, it would definitely be the Australian Mall Grab. He totally exploded and popularized this movement last year with an EP, on one of the most exciting electronic music label of the past years : 1080p. It has been his first big move to popularize lo-fi aesthetic. He then created desire and excitation by publishing some of his unreleased tracks on the internet, without any information, or any release date. And the buzz was born ! And now plenty of artists are making that kind of music.
Lo-fi has always existed in rock music. Since the 70s, Rock music has had a part of nervous rock, like punk or heavymetal. Lo-fi aesthetic is nothing else than an expansion of that. If one artist should be known about lo-fi rock, it’s clearly Ty Segall. Not because he invented it, but because he used to combine a lot of music genre, like punk, noise and garage, and put all this mixture in a lo-fi way. Simply brillant.
Hard to speak about lo-fi aesthetic in disco, jazz, funk or soul. There isn’t any artist who has really made the lo-fi his style. But there is a label from Washington who specialized in reissues of old independent funk and disco records produced with a lo-fi style: Peoples Potential Unlimited.
The last exposition of lo-fi aesthetic shows one thing : Lo-fi is not everywhere, not yet. In opposition to dance music like funk or disco, lo-fi will remain a niche. And for one basic reason : it is really hard to play lo-fi in a club, with a proper sound system. But disco and funk surely have their experimental way, and it’s just a matter of time before they get their lo-fi sisters, just like rock or electronic music.