Low-fidelity, high reward I Maureen Good


Music has, historically, been used in religious ceremonies and cultural celebrations as a way to communicate emotion and connect with others, with ourselves, and with the greater forces of the universe, whatever those may be.

It is both universal and specific, a language spoken by all yet deeply personal. As time passed, music became increasingly present in everyday life: moving from the radio to vinyl, to CDs, to streaming platforms like YouTube and Spotify, bringing with them easy access to musical culture from all eras, creating a world where song is now more than ever present in all walks of life. This democratisation of music has enabled artists to build platforms independently, bypassing record labels, and experiment with genre and techniques without having to abide to the terms of their record deals. With this, new artists are being discovered every day, and new musical genres and trends are emerging. One genre which seems to have increased in popularity through these streaming platforms is that of lo-fi music, where lo-fi artists are becoming increasingly mainstream, and are frequently included in trendy Spotify playlists (the platform even having a few playlists dedicated solely to the genre). The name ‘lo-fi’, meaning ‘low-fidelity’, dates back to the 1980s and refers to the crackling of vinyl, an allusion to the nostalgic atmosphere that the genre creates, and which seems to be the source of its success. Generally composed of a beat, looped samples of various instruments, and even extracts from old movies and spoken word, lo-fi pieces tend to create a sense of ease and relaxation, the perfect soundtrack to a rainy day or for cocooning in front of the fireplace.

Have you heard of lo-fi music before? What is your favourite musical genre to accompany your daily adventures?

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