Following the success of Nirvana’s Nevermind , alternative rock became a cultural talking point, and subsequently, the concept of a lo-fi movement coalesced between 1992 and 1994. Some of the delineation between grunge and lo-fi came with respect to the music’s “authenticity”. Even though Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was well known for being fond of Johnston, K Records, and the Shaggs, there was a faction of indie rock that viewed grunge as a sell-out genre, believing that the imperfections of lo-fi was what gave the music its authenticity.
In the 1976 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, lo-fi was added under the definition of “sound production less good in quality than ‘hi-fi'”. Murray Schafer, in the glossary for his 1977 book The Tuning of the World, defined the term as “unfavourable signal-to-noise ratio.” Tunebat.com needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding.
Elsewhere, WFMU DJ Irwin Chusid was responsible for inventing and popularizing the “outsider music” category — much of it overlapping with lo-fi. AllMusic wrote that Tall Dwarfs’ home-recorded releases presaged “the rise of what was ultimately dubbed ‘lo-fi’ as the sound began to grow in prominence and influence over the course of the decades to follow.” Although “lo-fi” has butterfly locs on natural hair been in the cultural lexicon for approximately as long as “high fidelity”, WFMU disc jockey William Berger is usually credited with popularizing the term in 1986. At various points since the 1980s, “lo-fi” has been connected with cassette culture, the DIY ethos of punk, primitivism, outsider music, authenticity, slacker/Generation X stereotypes, and cultural nostalgia.
Bex Glendining is 26 year old UK based illustrator, comic artist and colourist. Bex has worked as a cover artist, colourist and interior artist on projects such as Seen Edmonia Lewis, Penultimate Quest, Rolled & Told, Lupina and multiple covers for Penguin Random House. In the late 2010s, a form of downtempo music tagged as “lo-fi hip hop” or “chillhop” became popular among YouTube music streamers.
S Marc Hogan, each of those tags described what was essentially psychedelic music. Adam Harper reflected in 2013 that there was a growing tendency among critics such as Simon Reynolds to overstate Pink’s influence by failing to acknowledge predecessors such as R. R. Stevie Moore is frequently referred to as the “godfather” of home recording.
Stevie Moore had been recording full-length albums on reel-to-reel tape in his parents’ basement in Tennessee, but it was not until 1976’s Phonography that any of his recordings were issued on a record label. The album achieved some notoriety among New York’s punk and new wave circles. When a 2006 New York Times reporter referenced Moore as the progenitor of “bedroom pop”, Moore responded that the notion was “hilarious” in light of his “bitter struggle to make a living and get some notoriety, I scoff at it.” During the 1990s, the media’s usage of the word “indie” evolved from music “produced away from the music industry’s largest record labels” to a particular style of rock or pop music viewed in the US as the “alternative to ‘alternative'”.
In the fall 1986 issue of the WFMU magazine LCD, the program was described as “home recordings produced on inexpensive equipment. Technical primitivism coupled with brilliance.” Personalise your space and show off your taste in music with these gorgeous aesthetic album art posters from Spin The Needle designs. The “lo-fi” tag also extended to acts such as the Mountain Goats, Nothing Painted Blue, Chris Knox, Alastair Galbraith, and Lou Barlow. “Other significant artists often aligned with 1990s lo-fi,” Harper wrote, “such as Ween, the Grifters, Silver Jews, Liz Phair, Smog, Superchunk, Portastatic and Royal Trux have been largely omitted owing either to the comparative paucity of their reception or to its lesser relevance to lo-fi aesthetics.” Writing in the book Hop on Pop , Tony Grajeda said that by 1995, Rolling Stone magazine “managed to label every other band it featured in the first half as somehow lo-fi.” One journalist in Spin credited Sebadoh’s Sebadoh III with “inventing” lo-fi, characterizing the genre as “the soft rock of punk”.
The foundation of this style came mainly from producers such as Nujabes and J Dilla. The Beach Boys recorded albums at Brian Wilson’s home studio from 1967 to 1972. From the late 1990s to 2000s, “lo-fi” was absorbed into regular indie discourse, where it mostly lost its connotations as an indie rock subcategory evoking “the slacker generation”, “looseness”, or “self-consciousness”.