There’s a pretty interesting debate going on over at Tiny Mix Tapes about the political significance or lack thereof of the current crop of “lo-fi” bands/musicians. It is sort of a spin-off of an argument that began with a Guardian piece that insinuated that all American lo-fi musicians were navel gazing pot-heads who wanted to stay forever in the warm embrace of childhood (there are links in the article to the original article and a response by Brooklyn-based blogger McGregor who runs Chocolate Bobka).
The comments following the TMT article are generally pretty interesting and thus far it hasn’t descended into ad-hominem vitriol. The participants in the initial debate all had a horse in the race (musician, blogger, friend of musician and blogger) so objectivity was a little lacking but I think the underlying issue is certainly interesting.
My personal feeling is that the last time music and politics intersected in a really meaningful way was probably the rise of rap and hip-hop culture in general in the late 80s and early 90s. Calling lo-fi political is sort of a stretch, although I think there is something there. If nothing else, the clear assurance that even with absolutely zero chance of making money, people will still set themselves to making a gigantic and ever-expanding spectrum of music in all fidelities is a very powerful statement of intent. Music is there, industry or no industry.
Then there’s this article.
So, are we witnessing a splintering here? Is “lo-fi” part of some sort of subconsciously calculated reaction to an otherwise toxic creative enivronment? Are there two musics, one passive and one active?