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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

[ARTS OPINION] Dig into low-fidelity music

Andrew Lipinsky
AUTHENTIC APPEAL. Minimally produced music can feel more natural than overproduced mainstream tracks. This production style is commonly referred to as “low-fidelity.”

Music is one of the largest mediums of art creation and consumption in the world, and it has been that way for centuries. Music is incredibly diverse and is spread through hundreds of genres and cultures. One thing that is often overlooked in the mainstream consumption of music is the mixing of it. Mixing is a term used in music production to describe how artists and fellow mixing professionals control the different areas of sounds in a larger piece of music. Mixing music works by dissecting it into smaller pieces and changing and manipulating the sounds of each instrument or track in a song. Mixing techniques have been changing every decade since the 1960s with the introduction of more technology. Sometimes overproduction or too much focus on mixing can ruin some music and make it all sound similar and generic. That is why it is important to listen to some badly mixed or low fidelity music along with well-mixed and polished-sounding music.

Music with stripped-back production can give it a more natural, aggressive, and honest feel.

“Low fidelity” is a term used in music to describe lower audio quality and stripped-back production. It is also known by the terms “rough mix” or “distorted sound.” Music with stripped-back production can give it a more natural, aggressive, and honest feel. There are lots of examples of this across genres, all having stripped-back production quality. One example of a genre based on a lot of stripped-back and distorted production is Shoegaze or Dream Pop. Shoegaze and Dream Pop go hand in hand with only slight differences. The two of them are subgenres of Rock music. They both focus on the heavy use of guitars producing ethereal-sounding melodies using lots of effects pedals, a quiet but sometimes driving bass, in the background yet chaotic sounding drums, and vocals soaked in reverb and echo. A great example of a Dream Pop/Shoegaze album is Ceres and Calypso in the Deep Time by the band Candy Claws released in 2013. Another more popular and genre-defining album is Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, which is essentially said to have created the genre of Shoegaze.




Both of these albums are amazing. When listening, start off with Loveless because it is a good entry album into Shoegaze and Dream pop. Shoegaze and Dream Pop both have developed to be some of the most influential genres in the modern age. An important genre part of both of them is the stipped-back mixing or roughly mixed elements.

Another genre that uses a lot of stripped-back mixing elements is Punk Rock and the many subgenres under Punk. Punk Rock was a style of Rock that began in the late 1970s and is based on lots of aggression, fast melodies and drums, and general disdain for how the government was at the time. In a few years, there would be many subgenres of punk created.

One band that is very influential from this period, which was active with the original band from the late 70s to the early 80s is the Misfits. With a large portion of fans, advice for when listening to the Misfits is to only listen to Danzig-era songs (songs with Glenn Danzig as the lead singer). After Danzing left the band, they did not sound the same to many people. The Misfit’s early and most popular music is mixed awfully, compared to today’s modern standards. It was even considered to be mixed poorly at the time of its release, but that is part of the reason why the band is loved. Their music with Danzig had so much aggression, catchy melodies and lyrics, and distraught imagery– with poor mixing it sounded amazing. The Misfits sounded rebellious and scary, and rough mixing only added to the punk band’s music and image. A fair warning with the Misfits is that some of their lyrics are very violent, anti-governmental, and horror-themed, especially for the 70s and 80s so know that before listening and sharing an opinion on them. Punk Rock is essentially based on poor mixing and a DIY take on making music.

Listen to some low-fidelity styles of music, starting with those mentioned previously. A stripped-back style of mixing in music can add a sense of rebellion, creativity, and uniqueness to pieces of music. It has been hugely important throughout the history of modern music and should keep being used in the modern day.

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About the Contributor
Andrew Lipinsky
Andrew Lipinsky, A&E Co-Editor
My name is Andrew Lipinsky(He/Him). I am an A&E editor for RubicOnline. At school, I play on the soccer and golf teams. I love listening to music. I can be reached at [email protected].

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