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The Origins of Lo-Fi Music

todayApril 16, 2022 448 10 3

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Dusty Jazz samples, vinyl static, rain sounds, relaxing melodies, and chill drums.These are just some of the notable traits that define the genre known as “Lo-Fi” Music. But where does it originate from?

Before we evaluate modern day Lofi Music as it is now the genre widely known for being the go-to study or music to relax to, we must examine its roots. The term “lo-fi” was first commonly used in the 1950’s. It is short for “low-fidelity”, which means low quality. During this decade, young people from all over were inspired to record their own music with the equipment and gear available to them at the time. This is when the classic distortion, fuzziness and tape skip sounds came into play.

In the 1960’s we had groups such as The Beach Boys being the first to use this at-home equipment to record their tracks, then, as we moved into the 1980’s hip-hop started to become one of the most groundbreaking and popular genres

Some may say that lo-fi came from boom bap rap – popularized by rapper KRS-One – which explains the most common drum samples found in lo-fi today. Additionally, some sources state that lo-fi came from the ambient house music or “chill-out” music that was unique to Heaven Nightclub in London, 1989. But to say that you can point to one true origin of lo-fi on a map would be false.

Trying to pinpoint one person as the sole creator of the genre is a futile effort. The best answer as to Lo-Fi’s origins would be the internet. Young artists of multiple genres have helped to cultivate Lo-Fi into what it is today.

Written by: L S

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