A Deeper Meaning of Lo-Fi

Blogpost

April 21, 2023

Lo-Fi

First a brief introduction for those who have never heard the term Lo-Fi. It defines the intention of a piece of music in terms of sound quality and is a provocative contrast to Hi-Fi, which aims for the highest possible quality. So much for the tip of the iceberg.

At first glance, it seems to be a romantic reminder of crackling vinyl records and old radio experiences. That may be the starting point, but it involves profound consequences regarding the result. While the demands of hi-fi resulted in an ever-widening frequency band with a focus on the edges (deep bass and sharp highs), lo-fi focuses on a darkly colored middle with intentional crackles.

Philosophically, Lo-Fi is a departure from the “higher and further” of our world. At a time when even Hi-Fi is no longer enough for many, and Dolby Atmos (multi-channel instead of stereo) is establishing itself as contemporary, the Lo-Fi trend takes on an almost revolutionary air. I would like to highlight 2 aspects of Lo-Fi that underpin this claim.

The fact that constant growth and a belief in technology do not necessarily lead to a more peaceful world has already become known to some people. In addition, we can suspect a growing overload behind the ever-increasing numbers of depression sufferers. But what is it about Dolby Atmos, for example, that overwhelms us?

Do you still remember the heyday of IMAX cinemas? A truly overwhelming cinema experience back then. Why hasn’t that become the standard? Well, the answer is quite simple, “It doesn’t pay!”. People don’t want to be overwhelmed all the time! They are already overwhelmed by their struggle to survive, and a very expensive ticket doesn’t make their case any easier. The highlights want to be well dosed, and this does not generate enough economic mass.

Dolby Atmos in music will face the same problem, but it has an ace in its sleeve – it’s headphones! While an Atmos experience in a room requires an expensive music system, good headphones can mimic a spatiality through psychoacoustic effects. “Psychoacoustic” also means extra work for the brain, though!

Now our brain is constantly in search of coherence, which simplified means rest. With constantly increasing demands by our environment, however, it hardly comes to rest. The excessive demand grows! For the musical enjoyment of Dolby Atmos productions, it is therefore necessary to largely switch off other demands. When do we still manage to do that?

Interestingly, Lo-Fi has been impressively successful in a classic headphone application – music during work, meditation or a workout. The deliberately reduced attention demands of Lo-Fi productions make room for other demands on the brain. Matching the listener’s main occupations, there are two main strands of Lo-Fi genres: “Lo-Fi Chillout” and “Lo-Fi House” (along with subgenres) – simplified: slow and rhythmic.

Now, as a music producer, you can go one step further. What happens if there is no main occupation of the listener at all? Well, an enormous free space is torn open! Maybe this is exactly the free space we urgently need to get in touch with our soul? Yes, that’s exactly how I see it! If it is possible to add some musical “waymarks” in this music world, it would be a very satisfying environment for every creative artist who is concerned about the soul in music. I have just made the first step in this direction.

The Founder

My name is Horst Grabosch and I am the mastermind of all projects presented on this website. I was born in the largest coal mining area in Germany, known as the “Ruhrgebiet”. After school I worked as a professional musician until I was 40 years old. This time is well documented on WIKIPEDIA After a burnout I had to give up my job, moved to the south of Germany, to the Munich region, and did an apprenticeship as an information technologist. Another burnout forced me to rebuild my existence again, which collapsed just because of the corona crisis. In expectation of poverty at retirement age, I began to build a second career as a musician in 2019.

Newest Music

Japanese-Breakfast - Horst Grabosch & Alexis Entprima

Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast is the musical observation of a Japanese ceremony from a Western cultural perspective. Men and women have gathered for breakfast. Voices with Japanese speech sounds suggest a shy erotic exchange of the sexes. The girls first fuel the erotic fantasies with flirtatious chants before the guys respond in an emphatically casual manner. The rhythmic basis is a house groove which is adapted to the typical strictness of Japanese culture. Emotional swings are only hinted at by sparingly used elements, which then also rather stem from the culture of the observer who senses the crackling erotic tension in a seemingly completely controlled environment. The contradiction of displayed innocence and passion creates an almost palpable tension that is the enduring appeal of the music. The story is not completed and continues in the listener’s mind. This is musical storytelling in the form of a pop song. The sound space is appropriately set by unobtrusive lo-fi elements. This is eclecticism drawn with a fine blade. If you had to classify it somehow I would call it “Intercultural storytelling in lo-fi house garb”.
Lofi Markets - Horst Grabosch

Lofi Markets

Lofi, lo-fi or low fidelity, lo-fi hip-hop. A fairly new building block in the genre craze. Here’s an EP from easy listening, or maybe study beats? Anyway, curious author and music producer Horst Grabosch fires from all guns as long as it serves his message. A collab/project with Captain Entprima which was designed for relaxation. Yes, relaxation must be – as usual from the academically trained old master on a high musical level. Here wonderfully simple melodies played with alienated piano sounds.

Die Geschichte von Oberförster Karl-Heinz Flinte - Horst Grabosch

Die Geschichte von Oberförster Karl-Heinz Flinte

A new story by Horst Grabosch from the “Heroes of Work” series. This time the focus is on the profession of forester. Of course, Karl-Heinz Flinte does not fit the stereotype of a forester. On the cover, he looks more like a climate activist. But that is exactly Grabosch’s twist. The three episodes reveal the diversity of the activity. Flinte also occasionally shoots a boar when necessary, but he also suffers with the weakened trees and cares for the forest’s human visitors – after all, that’s what he’s paid to do. Just as with his music, he sits between all chairs, but the chairs always represent only a limited view. Grabosch always chooses individual themes and musical genres for a song, but in the process they form a whole picture over time. This picture is irritatingly diverse in terms of pattern formation. Perhaps this is precisely how Grabosch demonstrates our general lack of acceptance of the complexity of the world. But he always keeps his humorous wink.

Die Geschichte von Bademeister Adelwart - Horst Grabosch

Die Geschichte von Bademeister Adelwart

With the story of pool attendant Adelwart, Horst Grabosch presents the second release from the series “Heroes of Work”. With three episodes in this maxi-single he pays tribute to people who daily make their peaceful contribution to the functioning of our world. All three contributions of German poetry and musical eclecticism have the same jazzy base and vary in the small poems in German that form the song lyrics and in the soloistic elements. We are once again surprised by the variety of styles in Grabosch’s songs. There is jazz in this song and the jazz trumpeter, who was internationally successful many years ago, shows how to integrate styles when you have practiced them yourself.

Die Geschichte von Krankenschwester Hildegard - Horst Grabosch

Die Geschichte von Krankenschwester Hildegard

With the story of Nurse Hildegard, Horst Grabosch opens a new box of his imagination. With three episodes in this maxi-single, he pays tribute not only to professions that are socially important, but even more to the people who daily make their peaceful contribution to the functioning of our world. All three musical pieces have the same musical base and vary in the small poems in German that make up the lyrics of the song and in the solo elements. Other tributes to other professions have been announced. The series is entitled Heroes of Work. We are looking forward to more humorous episodes with new musical styles, as we are used to from the eclectic Grabosch.

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