Trying to find a thorough definition for “experimental music” on the mighty internet it’s a no go. You might stumble upon some comprehensive lists and user-generated explanations on rateyourmusic.com, the classical yearly lists on Pitchfork, and a bunch of subreddits, but a universal definition of the genre is yet to be formulated.
Experimental, avant-garde, or their derivatives are a few words that could do justice to those forms of expression, which find new ways to push the boundaries of genres past general convention. Also, experimental artists are known to explore new avenues when it comes to their craft.
If we take the latter, then you’ll surely find a few artists who like to explore outside of known frameworks of genres, instruments, lyrics or even technological means in the Low-Fi community.
Here are a few recommendations from the Low-Fi’s experimental corner:
Andreas Lagerstedt’s passion project. He is a sound designer, based in Copenhagen, Denmark who loves to combine his music and game development skills into an audio-visual delight.
Pearlcorder’s music is glitchy and electronic, and it’s all played live on a drum machine. You might ask yourself how does that work.A computer detects what sounds are being played and makes individual visualisations for each of them. In a live act, Pearlcorder makes use of projectors and a dark room so that the visuals can unravel in their entirety and at their fullest.
Now, who has a living room and some curtains to share?
Laura Reznek could easily be placed by some in the singer-songwriter or folk groups. But it’s a bit more than that. There’s something inherently subtle about her music that makes Laura stand out in those crowds. She uses her voice as an instrument that she explores in various manners, shifting through genres, such as dark folk, jazz, or even downtempo cabaret pop (I know, right? What is that?), while using her piano as accompaniment to paint a soundscape of emotions.
Anna plays atmospheric r’n’b and she is accompanied by Kristian Haarløv on guitar when playing live. With her music, she concocts tiny universes immersed in weird saxophone solos, and melodic worlds led by old sampled pianos, dreamy guitar sounds, and tons of reverb.
Lyrically, she seems to be exploring different paths, switching back and forth from Danish singer-songwriting to sometimes English spoken-word/voice overs mosaics, which you don’t really know what they mean but you can feel that they pan out really well in her work.
“The Cure meets Röyksopp” and “Slowdive meets a Nina Hagen vibe”. Henrik Marstal and Anna Lidell met back in 2012 and they started this unique dream pop Nordic duo. Their fruitful collaboration brings forth six projects (albums and EPs) that seem to be perfectly designed for Scandinavian autumn weather. But don’t picture it as all gloom and doom; it’s rather uplifting and cosy atmospheric. That’s another way to experiment with emotions, eh?
Experimental isn’t only related to technological or instrumental means. Voice is an instrument as well, and we often forget that. Do you know those artists who can take a popular, over-mainstream song and turn it into magic? Try looking up Benardisima Fiorentino singing “The way you look tonight” and I’ll bet you a Low-Fi concert ticket that you’ll think “Is this Liza Minelli turned CocoRosie turned Russian Red… and, actually, is this even Frank Sinatra?” because that’s what I thought when she started singing.