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Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Beats: Soundtracking Your Life

An infinite loop of an anime girl scribbling line after line into her notebook, as her cat looks on out the window, while an ambient soundscape of simmering downtempo flows out of her headphones and your computer. The vinyl hiss, a muffled drum machine, some electric piano or nocturnal synths, a soft guitar lick, and the occasional vocal sample from old school games, obscure tapes, or samples on public domain. This is lo-fidelity, or lo-fi hip-hop, and YouTube is full of channels that host 24/7 live-streams of this brand of instrumental music to tide traumatised university students through their semester.

It’s designed to soundtrack the silence left by studiers, relaxers, and gamers everywhere – the background music of today’s generation. But what makes it such a phenomenon? Two-time ARIA-award winning saxophonist and lecturer in Music Studies at Macquarie University, Dr. Andrew Robson, joined us earlier to discuss.

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