Since the beginning of digital recordings and how cheap it is to create music today, it's undeniable that there is a lot of terribly amateur sounding pieces of music. This is not necessary a bad thing, after all, nobody loves The Velvet Underground for their musical expertise. We like them for their crudeness, and because of this, there are many talented musicians that deliberately choose to have their recordings sound cheap, rusty, and bad quality, even in the digital age of pristine, perfectly sounding mp3s.
One of the most influential curators of this 'rusty' lo-fi music, specifically within electronic music, is the New York record label Long Island Electrical Systems or L.I.E.S for short. Upon flicking through their discography you would notice firstly that it is an almost exclusively limited vinyl collection. It stands out from the crowd as every record sticker holds the same signature and a minimal 'logo with text' look. You can instantly tell the whole idea is based around regular guys creating records in their studio-joint-bedrooms with very crude equipment. They seem to completely disregard the idea of a 'good mix-down', or 'correct' song arrangement.
The best example of this way of making music would be a track titled Teen Romance, by Dutch hardware synthesiser fetishist and musician Legowelt. This is a track entirely made on 80s-00s drum machines using recording techniques you would have typically found in a suburban home studio in the 80s expect that they have, of course, created and released this in late 2013.
The music is indeed special as its reception within the genre testifies. It's very rare for a press of records to sell out in this current market without the tracks being augmented by perfect mixing, perfect mastering as well as press photo shoots for the lead artist. In a recent launch of Kanye West's top selling single 'Black Skin Head' we hear of him doing interviews in which he promoted the controversial idea of racism in public life. I have no doubt that this enhanced his public profile; and if it sells more singles in the process, well that would be a nice benefit for him and his record company. However L.I.E.S is consistent in selling well with a business model that does not include these promotional tricks. There support to artists enable many to release singles for the first time without any established history of success in selling their material. They support many artists who have started making music by employing basic hardware such as a reel to reel tape recorder, a shabby sampler and/or a set of guitar pedal effects as well as the obligatory a few hours in the night to play around.
These records get more listens/sales/attention than your average digital counterpart in this genre. This fact makes me question the authenticity of a 'good sounding record'; lo-fi treatments can bring your music to life and it now is a viable and popular alternative with this genre of house and techno. In my opinion a touch of 'analogue clumsiness' can change a track from a lifeless straight-out-the-box three minute arrangement to a project that sounds like it was made by a human being with soul and spirit.