Corsica Studios – 26th August
Bringing live music into a club environment is always a tricky one, technically. I could tell you that Ross From Friends’ live setup features a DAW, sax, some keys and a guitar, plus a plethora of canned tones and samples, but even that would give you no idea what it actually sounds like. Sometimes the guitar is dropped an octave to play basslines. Sometimes the sax is more modified than a car that’s spent 30 minutes with Tim Westwood.
When you pull this kind of thing off though, it’s fantastic. The extra presence supplied by live musicians, combined with an energy that only 2am-in-Corsica-Studios can supply, results in a very special show. Yes, there were some technical hitches through the set, but it was too late – by that point these three lo-fi stooges had won us all over.
There’s no lo-fi manifesto or secret recipe, closely guarded in some Deptford carpark by boys dressed in baggy sportswear. But the point of the genre, as far as I can ascertain, is to make everything sound as though it’s an RnB track that has been badly pirated by an 80s tape recorder held to a Smooth FM radio by a suburban mum. You then whack a 4/4 beat underneath, add some pads and swells, and voila. Everything else is just sprinkles on top.
Full credit to Ross From Friends for realising that this sound can work in the smoke and steam of a London nightclub when played live, by actual instruments, before your very eyes. It has somewhat legitimised what is often seen as a fairly lowly area of electronic music.
For, I ask you, what are we to make of lo-fi house? If James Murphy had written ‘Losing My Edge’ in 2025 instead of 2005, would he say of 2017’s South London “I was there”? Is it the genius repackaging of old, forgotten soul vocals into our post-vapourwave aesthetic? Is Mall Grab our generation’s Malcolm McLaren? Or is it the genre as formulaic and uninspired as sampling good music, and adding some effects and a house beat? I still don’t know, but I can’t stop listening.
Live: Phonox – 27th October