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4. Could you pinpoint the differences, as you see them (if you see any at all), between the type of lo-fi practiced by Guided by Voices in their heyday and the modern lo-fi movement of recent years?
Frank Lyon, Keepaway
I think Guided By Voices were much less self-conscious and much more inventive than your average “lo-fi” music or artist.
Thomas Fekete, Surfer Blood
Guided By Voices recordings are still, to this day, interesting because they’re very listenable. It wasn’t about being lazy. They weren’t hiding behind shitty recordings. The songs are good! And the quality of the music, in my opinion, takes it to a whole different place. No record makes me feel the way Alien Lanes does. That being said, there is a lot of great lo-fi going around nowadays.
Beth Wawerna, Bird of Youth
Well I think thatís exactly itóI think Guided By Voices werenít part of a movement at all, they were just Guided By Voices. The production on some of those early GBV records didnít feel calculated or forcedóit felt like an extension of the band itself; it felt organic to the music and the songwriting and the attitude behind it all. Whereas today, I think sometimes lo-fi feels like its own genreóit feels stylized. And that to me is the primary difference.
Luther Russell, Producer (Holly Miranda, Laura Marling, Sean Lennon)
I don’t think there is much difference. In a way, it’s just people trying to lay down what they have in their heads and hearts the best way they know how. Everyone wants to sound good, and may not have the means to do it. So if it ends up being pleasing to some ears in a “lo-fi” way, so be it. I will say, though, that in the 90s, “lo-fi” most certainly meant working with some form of tape. So the sonics had a certain saturation that was pleasing to the ear, no matter how roughly it was recorded. So that would be the main difference.
Emily Ambruso, Grooms
GBV wrote incredible songs, and they would’ve been incredible—lyrically, musically—no matter how they’d been recorded. The lo-fi added charm and mood, but it was never used to cover up a lack of melody or lazy lyrics. Additionally, there were different kinds of lo-fi in their repertoire, different vibes. It wasn’t just a constant reverbed-out buzz. Lost-sounding vocals are dope too, in their own way, sometime, but that wasn’t what they did at all, and that aesthetic is what it seems the lo-fi bands today go straight for, songs get written after the vibe gets established.