Lo-fi music

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Lo-fi (from the term "Low fidelity") is a term used to describe music in which the sound is of a lower quality than the usual standard. The qualities of lo-fi are usually achieved by either degrading the quality of the recorded audio, or using certain equipment. Recent uses of the phrase have led to it becoming a genre, although it still remains as an aesthetic in music recording practice. Many lo-fi artists use inexpensive cassette tape recorders. The term was adopted by WFMU DJ William Berger who dedicated a half hour segment of his program to home recorded music throughout the late '80s under the name Lo-fi.

Pre-1980s

Lo-fi's roots can be dated as far back as a set of live cylinder recordings created in 1900–04 by Lionel Mapleson from a catwalk 40 ft (12 m) above the stage of the Metropolitan Opera. The sound quality of these "Mapleson Cylinders" is very poor (more so since they are one-of-a-kind artifacts that have been further worn down by being played over the last century); the aesthetic quality, though, partakes in the electric, authentic feeling of an unedited event being captured in real time. In the same historical period, commercial field recordings of folk music had begun to be created in many nations of the world, recorded catch-as-catch-can by early record producers such as Fred Gaisberg of HMV. The description of "lo-fi", however, would be slightly amiss, since the recordists used the best available equipment of the...
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