要提到近幾年最受矚目的音樂類型，不能不提 Lo-fi Hip Hop。源起於網路，創作大多取樣生活中或大自然聲響，以簡單、重複性的節奏，加上復古感的音色，譜出適合在各式生活場景中聆聽的中慢板節拍，深受各個年齡層的樂迷喜愛。由於創作門檻低、變化性高，也吸引許多音樂人相繼投入創作，更有 YouTube 頻道 24 小時不間斷地播放著。Cassette Hunter 為引薦 Lo-fi Hip Hop 給更多朋友認識，繼首波 Future Funk 的專題後，選擇以這種接近心跳般的節奏切入，讓大家可以更進一步認識 Lo-fi Hip Hop 的獨特之處。
Lo-fi Hip Hop is one of the most popular music genres on the Internet in recent years. The simple, repetitive and vintage tones which are suitable for listening to kinds of scenes and attracts fans of all ages. Since making the beats is easy to start and highly flexible, musicians have been engaged in creating the beats. There is even a YouTube channel constantly broadcasting the songs 24/7. In order to introduce Lo-fi Hip Hop to more people, Cassette Hunter chose to write the column to share its uniqueness with all readers.
知名音樂廠牌 88rising 扛霸子「Joji」在 2017 年推出的爆紅單曲〈will he〉，讓大家看到 Lo-fi Hip Hop 原來也能這樣做。
Lo-fi Hip Hop 的特點有幾個，一是音樂中常出現反覆的節奏，透過音樂的取樣、拼貼，創作出反應心境的音樂；二是節奏偏慢，大多帶有憂鬱的元素在其中。要探究 Lo-fi Hip Hop 如何演變而來，可以從幾個角度切入。所謂的 Lo-Fi，相較於 Hi-Fi，也就是「低傳真」（low fidelity）之意。1960~1970 年代，很多獨立樂團大量興起。草創初期，沒有足夠的經費錄製音樂，便在家中的臥室、車庫，透過簡易的器材錄製。錄出來的聲音質地不比專業錄音室，不是那麼地清晰、卻帶有獨特的美感。過往是逼不得已，才製作這樣的音樂，而現在卻是許多創作者用盡各種方式，想要還原、呈現這樣的風格。
The Aesthetics of Lo-fi Hip hop
Lo-fi Hip Hop is characterized by several features: firstly, the music was often crafted with repetitive rhythms, through the sampling of music and sound collage to reflect moods; secondly, the beats are usually slow, and most of it has melancholic elements in it. To explore how Lo-fi Hip Hop has evolved, we can look at it from several points. Lo-fi, the opposite of Hi-fi, means "low fidelity". During the 1960s and 1970s, lots of indie bands emerged. At the beginning the artists only had low budget, so they recorded music in their bedrooms or garages at home with affordable equipment and gears. Although the sound quality was non-perfect, it brought a unique aesthetic. In the past, the artists produced this kind of music due to economic considerations, but now many creators are trying to revive it and present it in various ways.
現代Lo-fi音樂創作者所不可或缺的音樂取樣機 Roland SP-404 (From www.artstation.com)
而「Lo-Fi」一詞，是在 1986 年末，由紐澤西的獨立電台「WFMU」，其中的一位 DJ「William Berger」所提出的。他每週會在自己的節目中保留半小時向聽眾說明，如何在家中自行錄音的做法。而他就命名這個時段為「Lo-Fi」。嚴格來說，「Lo-Fi」是一種作法，所以許多曲風，只要透過 Lo-Fi 的方式創作，就稱為「Lo-Fi Music」。包括Bedroom pop、Dream pop、Indie Rock Downtempo、Shoegaze、 Psychedelic、New Wave、Chillwave、Lo-Fi House、Electropop 等。自 1990 年後，Lo-fi music 才正式成為一種音樂類型，更近一步與 DIY Music 劃上等號。
The term "Lo-Fi" was coined by a DJ, William Berger in his radio show "WFMU". He explained to listeners how to record themselves at home, and named the slot as "Lo-fi". To be accurate, "Lo-Fi" is a kind of practice, so genres that are created through the Lo-Fi techniques could be all called "Lo-Fi Music", such as Bedroom pop, Dream pop, Indie Rock Downtempo, Shoegaze, Psychedelic, New Wave, Chillwave, Lo-Fi House, Electropop, etc. Since 1990, Lo-fi music has become a genre itself and is more closely equated with DIY Music.
DJ William Berger (From metal-archives.com)
80 年代末期，也出現了一批 Lo-fi 名團，譬如 1982 年成立於美國華盛頓州的三人獨立樂團「Beat Happening」，不經修飾的自然曲風及歌詞，被視為 Lo-fi 的先驅之一。主唱Calvin Johnson 後來成立了唱片廠牌 K Records，也孕育出許多如 The Microphones、Beck 等 Lo-fi 知名藝人。而另一個美國五人獨立樂團「Pavement」，成立於 1989 年，憑藉著 1997 年發行的《 Brighten The Corners 》，將 Lo-fi 精神發揚光大，成為 Lo-fi 傳奇樂團。
In the late 80s, a number of Lo-fi bands emerged, such as Beat Happening, a three-people indie band formed in Washington State, 1982. With chill beats and lyrics, the band is considered to be one of the pioneers of Lo-fi music. The vocalist, Calvin Johnson, later founded K Records and spawned other Lo-fi artists like The Microphones and Beck. Another American indie band, Pavement, was formed in 1989 and became a Lo-fi legend band with the album " Brighten The Corners", released in 1997, which carried forward Lo-fi.
Beat Happening (From www.salon.com)
Pavement (From consequenceofsound.net)
另一個影響 Lo-fi Hip Hop 形成的關鍵元素，就屬 Jazz Hip-hop (Jazz rap)了。出現於1980 年代後期至 1990 年代初期，融合了 Jazz 的隨性曲調與 Hip Hop 的說唱元素，以Hip Hop 的節奏為主，再以爵士樂器的重複樂句交疊。美國嘻哈團體「A Tribe Called Quest」在 1991 年發行的《 The Low End Theory 》，不僅拿下白金認證，更分別被《滾石》、《時代》雜誌列入史上 500 強及 100 強專輯，被視為推動 Jazz Hip-hop 發展的主要因素。
Influenced by Jazz Hip-hop
Another key element that influenced Lo-fi Hip Hop is Jazz Hip-hop (Jazz rap). Jazz Hip hop developed from in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, was the fusion of casual Jazz melodies with the rap elements of Hip Hop. The rhythm was based on Hip-hop, and combined repetitive jazz riffs. A Tribe Called Quest (ACTQ), an American hip-hop group that was regarded as the pioneer in the development of Jazz Hip-hop. The album "The Low End Theory", released by ACTQ in 1991, which not only went platinum but was also listed in the Top 500 and Top 100 albums by Rolling Stone and Time magazine respectively of all time. Apart from ACTQ, there are two other key roles that laid the foundation for the genre. The legendary Detroit producer J Dilla (1974-2006) was a master at breaking down and reorganizing original sample songs with straightforward melodies and rhythms, integrating Neo-Soul, Jazz and Hip Hop styles, greatly influenced Jazz Hip-hop. Although J Dilla suffered from illness in his later life, he still kept on producing. His last album "Donuts" was a great inspiration to countless hip-hop artists afterwards.
A Tribe Called Quest (From www.theguardian.com)
此外，還有兩位關鍵角色，也為 Jazz Hip-hop 打下重要基礎。底特律傳奇製作人 J Dilla ( 1974-2006 )，擅長將取樣的原曲破壞後再加以重組，以簡單的旋律及節奏，融入Neo-Soul、Jazz 與 Hip Hop 風格，為 Jazz Hip-hop 打開大門。在飽受病痛折磨的人生後期，仍持續堅持創作，遺作《 Donuts 》更是對後來無數的嘻哈歌手產生莫大啟發。而在東方，日本 Jazz Hip Hop 先驅 Nujabes ( 1974-2010 ) 則是讓這個曲風在日本遍地開花的重要人物。相較於西方，Nujabes 的 Jazz Hip-hop 更多了點優雅感覺。大量地使用鋼琴、薩克斯和長笛音色，再加入電子聲音，高難度的編曲作法，也造就了 Nujabes 獨樹一格的音樂符號。
Across the world from one another, in the east, Japanese Jazz Hip Hop pioneer Nujabes (1974-2010) was the key figure in Jazz Hip-hop that made it flourish in Japan. Comparing Nujabes' Jazz Hip-hop style to the West, Nujabes' arrangement feels more elegant and soft in his music. He extensively used piano, saxophone and flute tones, and added electronic sounds; the high level arrangements have contributed to Nujabes' unique aspects of music.
J Dilla (From Twitter @OfficialJDilla1)
Nujabes (from www.intermissionbristol.co.uk)
為什麼大家都愛 Lo-fi Hip-hop？
Lo-fi Hip-hop 在現代會受到這麼多人喜愛，其實不難想像。從音樂性來看，人們本來就會對於接近心跳或呼吸速度的節奏產生共鳴，而慢板的音樂，容易使人感到放鬆。所以這些節奏純粹的音樂，也相當適合當作背景音樂，無論工作、唸書，只要想要專注做某件事時，很多人就會打開 Lo-fi Hip-hop。就算不認識這個曲風，或許也多少看過一個動畫，畫面中是一個小女孩坐在書桌前不斷地寫著功課，而這個知名的場景，就是來自全天候不間斷地播放著 Lo-fi Hip Hop 的 YouTube 頻道—《 Lofi Hip Hop Radio – beats to relax/study to 》。這個頻道被視為此波浪潮的推手之一，不僅網路上出現一堆向「寫功課的小女孩」致敬的作品，Lo-fi Hip Hop 也因此被稱為「study beats」。今年初該頻道無預警被 YouTube 停權，造成網路上哀鴻遍野，影響之深遠不言可喻。
Why do people love Lo-fi Hip-hop so much?
Actually, it is easy to see why Lo-fi Hip-hop is so popular nowadays. From the point of view of musicality, people naturally resonate with rhythms that are close to human heartbeat speed or breathing rate, so slow music can easily make people feel relaxed. Therefore, Lo-fi Hip-hop is quite suitable as background music when people want to focus on doing something. Even if you don't know this genre, you may have seen a looping animation of a little girl sitting at a desk and writing her homework. The famous scene is from the YouTube channel "Lo-fi Hip Hop Radio - beats to relax/study to", which broadcasts Lo-fi Hip Hop 24/7. The channel could be considered to be one of the prompters of this wave. Not only did a number of songs shout out to the "study girl" on the Internet, but Lo-fi Hip Hop was also referred to as "study beats". In 2020 of beginning, the channel was suspended from YouTube without warning, causing devastating woes on social media.
《 Lofi Hip Hop Radio – beats to relax/study to 》
台灣目前也有許多音樂人在創作 Lo-fi Hip-hop，譬如 FarragoL、錐頭、E V E aka 酷酷小乖乖等人，FarragoL 更是最早嘗試 Lo-fi Hip-hop 的創作者之一。隨著越來越多的Beatmaker 出現，也演變出越來越多的音樂樣貌。早期 Lo-fi Hip-hop 出現時，大多伴隨著憂鬱、悲傷的氣息，用 Lo-fi 製造出不完美的音色，似乎也是想呼應創作者的心境，傳達音樂的掉拍、停頓，就如同有起有落的人生，抒發著現代人的焦慮。而如今，隨著日漸發展，也能從中發現各式各樣創作主題或是輕快曲調的作品。Lo-fi Hip-hop的節奏雖然單純，大多也屬於沒有人聲的音樂，但隨著音符的堆疊，身體會自然地感知，也更能融入其中。下回不知道該聽什麼音樂類型的時候，不妨就隨意地點開Lo-fi Hip-hop，一定能從中發現它之所以吸引人的特殊魅力。
There are many Taiwanese musicians who also produce Lo-fi Hip-hop, such as FarragoL, Coneheads, E V E, etc. FarragoL was one of the earliest Lo-fi Hip-hop artists. Several Lo-fi music styles gradually evolved with the emergence of more and more beat makers. In the early days, Lo-fi Hip-hop mostly brought a melancholic mood and sad atmosphere. The flawed sound quality of Lo-fi music seems to reflect the creator's mood, conveying the anxiety of the modern world, just like the ups and downs of life. With the increasing development of today's Lo-fi Hip-hop, you also can find diverse songs with creative themes or light-hearted tunes in them. Lo-fi Hip-hop's rhythm is easy and mostly without vocals; however, listeners would naturally have beat perceptions with the notes.
Cassette Hunter 特別企劃 —《MindCapsule》FarragoL
為紀念2020/10/17「Cassette Store Day」的到來，Cassette Hunter將同步發行第二張官方卡帶專輯《MindCapsule》，邀請台灣 Lo-fi Hip Hop 指標創作者 FarragoL創作。靈感來自2020 年 5 月 SpaceX 首度成功發射載人的太空船，想像太空人在外太空執行任務所創作的音樂。專輯委由台灣唯一的卡帶專賣店 感傷唱片行 發行，封面則再度邀請 低級失誤 操刀，結合聽覺與視覺，感受漂浮在音樂中的身心放鬆。
Special Project by Cassette Hunter – “MindCapsule” FarragoL
With the coming of "Cassette Store Day" on October 17th, 2020, Cassette Hunter will release the second official album "MindCapsule", featuring an iconic Taiwanese Lo-fi Hip Hop artist, FarragoL. Inspired by the successful launch of SpaceX's first-ever human rocket in May 2020, the album conveyed a concept of an astronaut who was on duty in outer space, creating the music during his mission time. The album was released by Taiwan's only cassette focused store, Kind of Blue Records, and the cover design once again invited Saitemiss to take over it. The combination of sight and hearing must be an awesome relaxant to all audiences. Enjoy it!
《 MindCapsule 》Farragol ( 2020 Kind of Blue Records ) 2021 Second Edition