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Thread: Lo~fi or just poorly recorded ?

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    Lo~fi or just poorly recorded ?

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    Is lo~fi, presented as a deliberately artistic choice, merely covering up for poorly recorded music ?

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    There is a niche recording world where low fidelity equipment is used intentionally, and productions are limted...like the most basic cassette recorders and where things have that garage band, old-school demo quality...even to the point of releasing those recordings on cassettes rather than CDs or digital files.

    Some people also confuse old-school recording techniques as "lo-fi", and they think that by using low fidelity equipment, they will get that vintage sound, but most commercial recordings even going back to the earlier years of modern recording, always strived for high fidelity, and much of the sound came from the arrangements and limited production styles, and not from low fidelity equipment.

    I think there is certainly some artistic intent in both cases...though I do also feel that in some cases, the lo-fi is simply the best they can do...so they stay in that production mindset and adopt it as their "style"...and then it's a deliberate choice that may have been made to cover up poor recording.

    Over in the Analog forum there are a few guys who stick with some of the most basic, earliest "home-grade" tape technology from yesteryear. It's what they like to use...and not for any "cover up"...though I guess you would have to hear their attempts at both lo-fi and hi-fi productions to know if the lo-fi is purely an artistic decision and not a result of their situation.

    Are you thinking of doing some of that yourslef...or just curious about the opinions people have of it?

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    I often wonder if that's true. The distortion and muddiness...
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    There are songs that were big hits that sound (to me) absolutely horrible. One example that always stood out was Go Now by the Moody Blues. Heavy distortion everywhere, especially on vocals. Everything sounds like it was recorded at +10 on meter!

    Of course, in 1965, coming from the 6x9 dashboard speaker of the AM radio in the car, who could have told it was any different than any other song.

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    My understanding is that the kids coming up found what we consider harsh, like digital clipping, is cool. I have heard a some modern stuff that is obviously purposefully distorted. A group called Sleigh Bells does this a lot. I have also hear roots rock type outfits doing the same type of thing. To me if the arrangement seems ok, I figure it was recorded that way on purpose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
    g
    "Shitty is pretty".

    I've heard enough music from The Dap-Kings and from Daptone Records that was recorded by Gabe Roth...and it's anything but "shitty".

    Yeah, I get his point about going for a more raw sound, that too much "polishing" can often kill... but I certainly wouldn't ever call their sound "lo-fi".

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    Quote Originally Posted by TalismanRich View Post
    There are songs that were big hits that sound (to me) absolutely horrible. One example that always stood out was Go Now by the Moody Blues. Heavy distortion everywhere, especially on vocals. Everything sounds like it was recorded at +10 on meter!

    Of course, in 1965, coming from the 6x9 dashboard speaker of the AM radio in the car, who could have told it was any different than any other song.
    That's a really great song!
    I think the distortion adds to the feeling of despair he's singing about. Denny Laine did a great job with it...I was a fan during his years with McCartney and Wings.


    Have you ever heard the Bessie Banks version...?...it too has a very raw, distorted vibe.
    It certainly inspired the Moody Blues version...they didn't do a big change to the feel of the song.


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    Honestly, I had never heard Bessie Banks' version. It was never played around here on the radio, and I've never seen it mentioned until now. Thanks for posting that. She's got a nice soulful vibe.

    As for the distorted sound of the Moody Blues version, I figured it was probably a case of a band's first album not getting the same care as a proven band's releases would. I haven't a clue of where it was recorded. Still, you would think Decca would be somewhat like EMI in wanting to have quality recordings.

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    On a personal note...I was living in Europe for about a year and a half in the early '70s...and the Moody Blues were big then, so much of their stuff got airplay.
    Heck..."Nights in White Satin" was on the radio 20 times a day...and it was one of the favorite late-night house party slow dance songs....that and Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale".

    The Moody Blues' version of "Go Now" always takes me back (quite heavily), because it reminds me of my girlfriend there, and having to say good-bye to her because I was returning to the USA...and that song was like a good-bye theme song for her and me at that time...along with it was also the Hollies hit, "The Air That I Breathe".

    I can't hear those songs and not be immediately transported back, thinking about the girl I left behind.
    Oh, I wanted to bring her with me back to the USA...but it just didn't work out, and then life moved on.
    I do have some regrets about it to this day.

    Anyway...thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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