I’m wondering if you can speak to why this type of music seems to work so well for people to kind of like buy about and get into the zone.
And an absence of the vocal, there’s your thoughts. Lofi music and Lofi hip hop in particular, have attracted an incredibly large audience over the past 10 years. But Lofi music has existed for decades. Let’s tell you why so many people are now drawn to this uniquely retro sound? To get a better understanding of this mysterious genre you need an influential figure in the evolution of lofi hip hop and its ties to animate.
The term lofi was coined in 1986 through William Berger. He was a DJ for WF MU in East Orange, NJ. Berger hosted a weekly half hour segment called Lofi and Dedication to Home recorded music. But what does lofi stand for? Low fidelity, or lofi, is the antithesis of high fidelity. The sound that is reproduced with High Fidelity has very little distortion, so it is very close to the original source.. Now imagine or draw the opposite.
In the 20th century, the technology needed to make high-fidelity music was very different from what we have now. The availability of high-fidelity sound has never been greater. The modern musician can make high fidelity music using just a digital audio workstation and their laptop, but lofi aesthetics are still in use today.
Think from where that destiny aesthetic comes from?
In our opinion some people try to create it. The dusty aesthetic comes from samples, sample based production that leads to that type of sound and also a philosophy that dirties.
Was the sound closely reproduced from its original source?
Lofi music embraces the imperfections of poorly captured audio and analog playback devices like records, cassettes and samplers. Effects like vinyl crackle flutter and wow and pitch modulation are staples of the genre of lofi music. Final produces a fair amount of static electricity, which is picked up by the cartridge and then amplified by the photo preamplifier. When irreversible damage to the records grooves are amplified, you’ll hear it pop and crackle flutter and wow is the slight pitch modulation caused by irregularities.
On the turntable or tape drive speed, when the speed of the playback slows down, the pitch will be lower. When it speeds up, it’ll be higher. Today, these effects are so sought after by lofi artists, the plug-in developers have created a ton of different plugins to emulate these imperfections.
So why are you still searching for this lofi ascetic?
We have to take a deeper look into the rise of lofi hip hop, and wondering if you can speak to the development of that kind of grit in sound and the certain practices that we associate with lofi.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Lofi was a sound that indie rock musicians actively sought out. It was an ascetic choice. They embraced analog equipment because they found it to be more expressive and emotional. This creative movement was led by artists like Pavement and Beck. Though their sound was considered alternative, the aesthetic of lofi really made its mark on the music world when the song loser by Beck made it to the Billboard top 10. While the industry’s biggest producers were creating high fidelity music in multi $1,000,000 studios, Beck managed to crack.
The top ten was a song recorded in the kitchen in hip-hop. However, the Lofi sound came about far more organically as a result of sampling, which really is the foundation of the genre. In the 80s, DJ’s used turntables to loop break beats for rappers to rap over. This in turn led to the rise of the now iconic SP 1200, which was released in 1987. It had a whopping 2.5 seconds of sample time and a 12 bit resolution. The distinctive Grady sound of the SP 1200 came from its small sample rate that maximized memory usage.
There’s a an attempt to try to recreate.
Certain sounds, certain vibes in certain fields by using different instruments or different software. A really good example is everyone loves the SP 1200, myself included, and there’s a lot of ways to produce that sound with the machine itself or not. Thinking that when you put these tools together to try to do something and try to create that particular sound, that kind of leads to this musical progression of trying to do something that was done before but feels a certain way.
Now that creative spirit is the most important thing.
Fast forward to the late twenty 10s and there’s been an explosion of lofi music on YouTube and various streaming platforms. But why did this happen? I think a lot of people in the last, I don’t know, five or so years have been introduced to lofi music through these study playlists or like, concentration music.
Its music to think and it’s something that kind of allows you just this mental space to do what you need to do whatever, whatever.
That is, sometimes it can be calming, sometimes the rhythm of the drums cans kind of help you get into some fans like state to relax or study. It’s kind of, you know, for mental gymnastics.
Sonic qualities of Lofi hip hop allow listeners to tune into the music without diverting their full attention to it. This is because it’s too blurry and doesn’t have any sharp, brief information that why it would distract you otherwise.
Combine that with intentionally nostalgic sounds and comforting visuals, and you have the perfect environment for focus and productivity. The world of anime and what many people refer to as lofi music share a kind of long-standing connection.
Do you have any thoughts as to how that relationship kind of developed?
One of the producers that worked on a soundtrack for a really dope famous anime called Samurai Champ. The way that that anime impacted culture musically because it was all hip hop, down track, or full albums of Beats.
It’s crazy. That had a lot a big effect on people. It was kind of like a block on Cartoon Network that would play really dope anime in the commercial breaks. They would play beats. For a lot of people that didn’t necessarily grow up in hip-hop, they were hearing these beats and not really knowing that those were those were hip hop beats for them. That was just music.
Leverage the series featured music by producers like Nujabes, Suchi, Force of Nature, and of course, Fat John. These pioneers helped develop what we now consider the sound of lofi music, even if they themselves don’t necessarily identify with the label. Summary Shampoo was a landmark moment for lofi music and anime, but it was by no means first contact. It was a natural extension of a long dialogue that had already existed between the two art forms. Producers would sample sound bites from their favorite enemies, tsunami shows like Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop future. That’s hot chill hop.