What is Lo-Fi Music?
Lo-fi is music in which elements are usually regarded as imperfections of a recording, sometimes due to the artist’s financial limitations or due to deliberate aesthetic choice (Lo-Fi is short for Low Fidelity). Many Lo-Fi artists use cheap recording devices to record their music which makes this type of music sound like improvised jam sessions. The term was first coined in the late 1980s by a radio broadcaster who devoted half an hour in his program to home recordings under the name “Lo-Fi.”
Here, in my blog, I share tools for positive thinking, so I’m going to dedicate the following lines to share with you how you can use Lo-Fi music as a meditative tool for relaxation.
I started listening to Lo-Fi music through my personal story. One evening my brother, Chen, paid me a visit. That evening we enjoyed fascinating conversations about life and stories from the past week. My brother, who really liked different styles of music, told me: “Ofer, you must listen to this genre of music, which always calms me down.” He took his cell phone, connected it to my TV whose sounds were loud enough from the balcony as well; Chen turned off all the lights in the house, lit some candles, and placed them on the small table on the porch. This is how I found myself for the first time in my life listening to quality Lo-Fi music, which relaxed every muscle in my body. That moment was a pure brothers’ quality time. Because it was such an empowering experience, Lo-Fi music has become an integral part of my life ever since. Whenever I wanted to relax and put myself in the same timeless, anachronistic atmosphere, I would open a playlist of Lo-Fi music and allow the sounds to lead me to complete serenity of relaxation.
Research shows (source) that music can change your ability to perceive time, reduce seizures, make you a better communicator, boost your immune system, assist in repairing brain damage, make you smarter, evoke memories and even help Parkinson’s patients. As it turns out, whether it’s Hip-Hop, Jazz or Classic music, the Gray matter inside your brain prefers the same music you do. “It depends on your personal background,” the researcher Yonetani says. For a while, researchers believed that classical music increased brain activity and made its listeners smarter, a phenomenon called the ‘Mozart Effect’. Not necessarily true, claim the researchers Sugaya and Yonetani. In recent studies, they’ve found that people with dementia respond better to the music they grew up listening to. “If you play someone’s favorite music, different parts of the brain light up,” Sugaya explains. “That means memories associated with music are emotional memories, which never fade out — even in Alzheimer’s patients.”
Generally, people like to practice meditation with quiet music that has low BPM, i.e. low tempo, or gentle melodies without any percussion. I practice different types of meditation, and as part of my self-exploration, I first tried to practice meditation with LoFi music. I was also surprised by the experience of meditating with relatively rhythmic music. So at this point of the article, you’re probably asking yourself, what can be so soothing about Lo-Fi music? I have a few explanations for that:
- The very fact that this music has no lyrics whatsoever – when there are lyrics to songs we hear, it distracts us. Music without lyrics shuts those “background noises” off
- Sound repetition – there’s something very repetitive in Lo-Fi music, which makes us feel like we’re repeating a mantra. Only this time the mantra is a sound and not a word or a sentence (read my article about how to stop ruminating thoughts)
- Mellowness- Lo-Fi music is very soft and mellow as if the melody caresses our ears while playing. By the way, our ear has 3,500 inner hair cells, compared to the more than 100 million photoreceptors found in the eye. Yet our brains are remarkably adaptable to music.
- Personal memory – as soon as my brother and I were “in our very own moment”, my brain has created a neuronal connection between the good experience and the music. From that point on, every time I listen to LoFi music I recreate the same feeling that is engraved in my cellular memory
One may say, that only I have this deep cellular memory that remembers this bond between Lo-Fi music and its amazing experience. But then again, all humans constantly create these deep connections between experiences and feelings. Precisely for this reason, we must constantly create positive feelings based on good experiences. The mind does not care how that positive feeling was created, what is important is that we created it and of course took care to preserve it over time. This is very similar to the principle behind the Law of Attraction whereby positive thoughts will attract positive outcomes, here too connecting positive experiences with things/places/music will help you attract more positive energy to your life.
Here’s one Lo-Fi jam I really loved: