As advanced recording and music production technology becomes easier to access (anyone with an internet connection, a recent model computer and a knowledge of torrents can use Ableton), the impulse for producers to look backwards grows stronger. There grows an almost cultish obsession among musicians and music listeners for more unwanted crackles, distressing compression, and an altogether noisy experience.
It’s common practice for Dolewave bands down in Melbourne utilise tape recording for that lo-fi sound, but for indie bands up on the sunny shores of Brisbane, it seems that a very digitally created lo-fi reigns supreme.
The Cult of Lo-Fi: A Cult of Necessity or an Obsession with the Past? Bugs. Find out tonight on Sick Sad World.
Bugs is the solo project from Connor of Brisbane punks Pro Vita, and his EP Home, Alone revels in the sounds of redlined inputs, improperly equipped studios cheap microphones. Distorted guitars interplay with unnatural clipping to create a wholly modern fuzziness, backed by a relentless smashing of cymbals, which fade out into pure, cloudy white noise. What would otherwise be an abrasive sound is flattened by its aesthetic, it’s growl muffled to a mumble and its subtlety eroded by static noise.
Before this starts to sound like a pitchfork article fawning over the beauty of In An Aeroplane Over The Sea, let’s take a look at some of the songs on the EP. Get To Know Me sounds (you guessed it) like a Wavves B-Side with its woo-oohs, its miserable vocal tone, its loud/soft dynamics and its genuinely interesting songwriting. It’s a pop song designed to blow out speaker cones.
Speaking of cones, Stuck is a messily strummed stoner-skate-punk anthem about not caring about things. There’s some really awesome percussion on this one, an illusory halftime beat during the chorus that makes you think twice about the tempo to bang your head at.
EP closer Don’t Come Surfing gets all Weezer on us, with a far catchier hook than on Weezer’s own song about surfing. The guitar tracks on this one take on orchestral proportions thanks to the sheer noise they produce and there is something absolutely magical about the snare on this one. So much so that I got my little air drums on for that CHA CHA CHA CHA right at the start.
Home Alone is now available for free via Connor’s bandcamp. Also check out Pro Vita while you’re in the mood.
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