Lo-fi (from the term "low fidelity") is recorded music that is of lower quality than the usual contemporary standards. The term was adopted in late 1986 by WFMU DJ William Berger, who dedicated a weekly half-hour segment of his program to home-recorded music under the name Lo-Fi.
The music also refers to a movement which grew primarily from American underground music scenes in the 1980s. Associated artists include R.E.M., the Chills. the Clean, Beat Happening, Pussy Galore, Royal Trux, Sebadoh, Pavement, Liz Phair, Beck, and other acts from K Records.
AllMusic writes: "Throughout rock & roll's history, recordings were made cheaply and quickly, often on substandard equipment. In that sense, the earliest rock & roll records, most of the garage rock of the '60s, and much of the punk rock of the late '70s could be tagged as Lo-Fi."The Beach Boys' albums Smiley Smile (1967), Wild Honey (1967), and Friends (1968) were a trilogy of lo-fi albums recorded mostly in Brian Wilson's makeshift home studio; the albums were later referred to as components of his "Bedroom Tapes".
In the early 1970s, there were a few major recording artists who released music recorded with portable multi-tracking equipment; examples included Paul McCartney (McCartney, 1970) and Todd Rundgren (Something/Anything?, 1972).JW Farquhar's home-recorded 1973 album The Formal Female is considered an early forerunner to independent lo-fi artists such as R. Stevie Moore and Jandek. Matthew Ingram of The Wire wrote that "Moore might not have been the first rock musician to go entirely solo, recording every part from drums to guitar ... However, he was the first to explicitly aestheticize the home recording process itself. ... making him the great-grandfather of lo-fi."