Please help with my master’s degree!

I’m currently engaged in an MA in Music by research and my chosen focus is the following question:

“What Are the Affordances of Lo-Fi Production Techniques and How Are They Applied in Contemporary Electronic Music?”

My final submission will take the form of both a written thesis and a short documentary film.

My original intention had been to conduct interviews with artists in person, both at places of their choosing and, wherever possible, at various events taking place throughout the country.

Before the pandemic, it was clear this approach was likely to be flawed as it only allowed me to document views of those with whom I shared some degree of geographical proximity; after (/during) the pandemic, even this limited approach became obviously impossible. As a result of both of these issues, it was clear that new approaches needed to be found.

Thanks to the support of the Lines community, a path presented itself which would allow me to complete my research and potentially include a far broader range of voices than I could have ever hoped to do with my in-person methodology: take it to the internet!


If you would be prepared to, it would me massively appreciated if you could record video of yourself (utilising your smart phone, webcam or any other suitable device) answering a short series of questions.

Please note:

If you would prefer not to appear visibly in the film, that is completely understandable and completely not an issue. If you would be able to provide an audio recording of your answers along with some form of video which illustrates your responses somehow (pieces of equipment whirring, spooling, flashing, blinking etc) that would be fantastic.


To assist with the editing process, please supply footage in LANDSCAPE orientation. MP4 would be ideal but there are, of course, many methods for converting from other formats.


[ Before answering the questions, please state your name (both artistic and non-artistic name if you are comfortable to do so but if you’d prefer to just use your artistic name that’s completely fine too)]

  1. What does the term “lo-fi” specifically mean to you?

  2. Which lo-fi techniques inform your artistic process?

  3. Why are these methods important or appealing and what purpose does utilising them serve?

  4. How did lo-fi techniques become part of your process?
    For example: were they simply the tools that were available at the time (e.g. vintage samplers and four-track cassette machines) or is using them some kind of response to more modern methods?

  5. Do you perceive a difference in approach or mindset between using vintage lo-fi tools versus contemporary emulations of them?


Please upload footage via WeTransfer, sending links to my university email address:

If you could include your name in the filename that would be massively helpful!

Of course, all submissions will be very gratefully received and all contributors will be properly acknowledged, credited and thanked within the documentary

My deepest and most heart-felt thanks to you all!


Ooh this is totally interesting, i want to read your thesis once it is ready and please get it published (your supervisor will help you). I have been wondering about what on earth is “lo-fi” (and how it is constructed), and I posted to the OP-Z Facebook group about it late August.

Hi, some people posting OP-Z videos and sounds describe some of their content as “lofi”. I am curious and would love to discuss what characteristics would you say makes a sound/song/pattern/video “lofi”?

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The notion of getting it published is very exciting and although I’m trying to not think about that until it’s finished it’s hard not to!

It’s an intriguing question. I’m reluctant to say too much about it from my own perspective as I wouldn’t want to colour or cloud anyone else’s vantage point, but I’ll instead defer to Brian Eno (who doesn’t use the term here, but touches upon a lot of things I associate with lo-fi all the same)


Oh my… I’ve been thinking for a while about writing my master’s thesis about the very same topic! But more from the angle of ”lofi aesthetics and practices in contemporary music”.

I might have to hit you up with a dm some of these days.


Please do! (Both: write you master’s thesis on this field and hit me up! :slight_smile: )


Quick note:

I removed the phrase “lo-fi” from the thread title and wanted to explain why:

Because it means so many things to so many people, I’m aware that some view it as a genre in itself (and one about which they’re potentially not all that interested) whereas others don’t think of their techniques as “lo-fi” (they’re just what they do).

To this end I wanted to give ideas of how I see lo-fi:

If you’re using cassettes, reel-to-reel or any other form of magnetic media in your process there’s a strong chance you are doing so because of either an aesthetic choice or a process-driven one. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

If you utilise 12 or 8 bit samplers in your work - whether it’s because that’s what you have always used or because you love the texture it gives the sounds (or for any other reason) I would love to hear from you.

These are very simple examples and I’m sure there are countless more others could suggest (please do!)

Ideally I would love to receive submissions by the end of October but I understand if that isn’t possible for some people.

Thank you to those who have already contacted me!


Very cool, this is a pretty crazy period in my life, but I’d like to try to contribute!

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Thank you - it would be greatly appreciated!

If I may, I would like to suggest a possible source. About halfway down, Bibio addresses his views on Lo-Fi techniques. Bibio is somewhat of an expert on the topic in my opinion.

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My take on Lo-Fi was probably a combination of acts I came across in my teens in the 90s, such as the obvious punk/grunge acts, but also bands that recorded tracks live, and made that apparent in the recordings. Sebadoh were definitely one of these bands for me.

Probably off the back of this sort of sound, I read Amy Spencer’s book ‘DIY, The Rise of LoFi Culture’, which covered Zine culture and the like.

Currently my set up includes a couple of monotrons, guitar pedals, a couple of pocket operators and an OP-Z, so currently my understanding of Lo-Fi is apparently anything you can power on batteries.

Happy to discuss this further, good luck with the MA. I’m just up the road from Huddersfield in Leeds.

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I think the main thing I’m doing now that may apply is with this set up.
3 euro percussion voices with LPG and ringing filters, ios with AUM, Borderlands, Drambo, old EV console, spring reverb, various 80 digital reverb and delays.
A lot of roughing up going on in the various gain staging, EQ and effects.
Would that work?

@BPCook Brilliant, thank you! I completely agree: Bibio is definitely a superb exponent of the lofi approach

@shutterist That’s exactly where my understanding of it came from originally too. That DIY ethos of “do what you can with whatever you have to hand” which fed into 4-track cassette recorders and bouncing everything down to one track to make space for more! Amy Spencer’s book captures so much of that whole approach - ha - it actually made me want to make a photocopied zine :slightly_smiling_face:

“anything you can power on batteries” is an interesting take on lo-fi and one that I absolutely hadn’t considered! I just bought a collection of Monotrons to make into a very lo-fi polysynth (adding CV mods to them all and running them through a Midimuso Octex) which I’ll get started on once they all arrive. There’s something massively appealing about cobbling things together and making them do things that they’re not completely supposed to do (although in this case I can’t believe I’m anywhere near the only - or even amongst the first - person to come up with this idea). I’m not actually based in Huddersfield - the research MA isn’t a taught course so I don’t have to actually be there (even before pandemic restrictions) but I’m not far - Barnsley, to be exact. I would definitely appreciate your thoughts!

@soysos “roughing up” is definitely one of the strands I’ve identified as being key to aesthetic appeal of lo-fi techniques, definitely! On a personal level, it’s something I very much ascribe to (plus iOS features heavily in my workflow - which could be seen as amusingly contradictory when you think of the cutting-edge technology associated with powerful touch screen computers combined with 80s guitar pedals and the like!) In short: yes, it would absolutely work!


@petesasqwax, yeah I put my time in with tape. Starting with cassette as a kid in the mid 70s, 4 track, large format multi track and home studio reel to reel mid 80s. I’ve got a few tape devices lying around now including a Marantz 3 head vari-speed, a solid state Echoplex and some micro cassettes, but I never seem to click with tape as part of a creative process. Never feels right altho I’m sure it’ll be the right element in a project some day!

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(sorry for going quiet - it has been a chaotic fortnight on a lot of levels!)

That’s quite the array of tape devices! I’m yet to modify my dictaphone to allow the speed to be controlled via CV but it’s something I’m keen to try as a kind of bridge between the two worlds.

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