At this point the lo-fi aesthetic seems to be as strong as ever, but there are certain issues with the style that may come into play in the future. TRP points out that the sound doesn’t necessarily translate well to a club setting, which can cause issues: “Most of the tracks sound cool if you're listening to them at home, but they sound shitty at the club. A lot of this stuff is overcompressed and muddy, which is why I don't like to listen to that stuff at a club. It can be strange to listen to lo-fi sound on a high end system. If something sounds rough but it's still banging at the club, that’s perfect.”
“Every gig you play a lo-fi track someone is coming to the booth and tells you something is wrong with the soundsystem or your needles,” continues TRP. “I always tell them the music is supposed to sound like this and they should listen to stuff like that at home calmly. But like I mentioned earlier: Many tracks just sound shit at the club and I can totally understand people who just think something’s damaged.”
It's true, the textures present within the lo-fi genre might be confusing to some, but artists who showcase the sound are becoming more in-demand than ever before. Lobster Theremin label boss Asquith recently embarked on the label's first North American tour with Route 8 as the headliner and performed to ecstatic crowds throughout. Mall Grab also has been gigging relentlessly in 2016 and will likely cross the pond to the States in 2017 as fans are eager to see him behind the decks. The fuzzy aesthetic can be extremely prominent in a lo-fi track or it can be more subtle, but rather than ruining a tune, most fans tend to find it pleasant and warm.
As more newcomers to the sub-genre gravitate, it’s easy to see how the uninitiated might think something’s wrong with their speakers or headphones, as most listeners are used to hearing crisp sounds when listening to polished electronic music. This seems to be a common thread among those who are looking for something new and come across the course, jagged textures of lo-fi. This distinct style is clearly not for everyone, but as DJ Seinfeld assures: “Your headphones are not broken and neither is the song. Just give it a shot.”
Harrison Williams is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. He's joined the lo-fi movement; will you?
Patch Keyes is a freelance illustrator and regular contributor to Mixmag