Music, Playlist

smash cuts: lo-fi, high life

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like my music rough and with a lot of reverb. There’s nothing wrong with tight production, but sometimes a song’s flaws can mean more than its perfections. The raw, unharnessed power of static and feedback can sometimes imbue a song with extra feeling, so that brings us to the theme of this week’s smash cuts playlist: lo-fi. Although Wikipedia might tell you differently, lo-fi is more than a genre; from early pioneers like R. Stevie Moore and Daniel Johnston, to alt-idols like Beck and Sonic Youth, to rappers recording songs on their MacBook microphone, a plethora of artists have at one time or another embraced their nasty edges. Equally essential to lo-fi lore is the tradition of outsider music. From David Liebe Hart to The Shaggs, bedroom production techniques have made a lot of weirder music possible. It’s important we explore all those elements. Low quality doesn’t always mean low talent. Weird doesn’t always mean bad. So let’s hear it for the tapeheads, the circuit-benders, the lo-fi legends. Keep rockin’ in the weird world.

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