Friday, June 11, 2010


It is important to realize that despite all of our attempts to rationalize our artistic tastes, what we enjoy is really not under our conscious control. Guided By Voices is the type of Lo-Fi I would like to hate. They don't just use analog equipment because it sounds better or use older instruments because they are higher quality. These are practices I can agree with. Instead, they purposefully record their records badly, in basements with home recording equipment. Why? I've often heard it explained that it replicates the intimacy of demo tapes and bootlegs. That is precisely my problem: these are LPs, not demo tapes or bootlegs.

This song, however, is great. Why? Precisely because of the way its recorded. While my rational self says, "Hey, they're faking it!", my subconscious says, "Damn, this song rocks. Its full yet hollow, close yet removed." The Lo-Fi aesthetic creates a sense of intimacy because of its down-to-earth feel while at the same time creating distance through inferior recording practices. GBV excels in this category, not because their recordings are the shittiest, but rather because they are capable of recording in this manner while still allowing the grooves to come through. Everything about this song that I need to hear I can: the bouncy guitar and bass combo, the high pitched and pained vocals, the raucous drum fills, the expertly crafted hooks. They have essentially distilled and cataloged what makes the best demos and bootlegs good. I just have to ignore that voice in me that cries for authenticity. When I do that, I can really love this record.

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