In a growing landscape of ideological uncertainty, lofi hip-hop occupies a transitional space where experimentalism can inform a penetrating, dreamlike experience. To borrow a term from Žižek, in its purest sense, experimentalism can operate outside of a complete ‘ideological container’ making it a useful tool in the artistry of music.
Originating from Denmark, Axian promotes this kind of underground experimentation, where phantasmagorical sounds offer another fuck you to the corporate hegemony of music as a disseminated product, with beat tape communities pushing for a more liberated aesthetic. It’s the sound of low fidelity meets hip-hop turntablism, a vision that breaks free from the editorial constraints of commercial saleability; where the dominant philosophies of our time inevitably end up at the back of the queue, and at the bottom of the playlist.
Even so, Axian worries that hip-hop has become an increasingly overlooked genre of music; going the way of once predominant musical genres like jazz and blues. It’s an anxiety we both share, but an anxiety that feels reconciled nonetheless; especially when we consider these alternative movements blending hip-hop with low fidelity production.
Despite this, we both see the detrimental correlation between the music industry and its hazardous effects on emerging artists. Axian concluded this idea by saying, ‘these days everything’s gotta be fancy, and it’s gotta be about money, drugs and sex to make it in the mainstream, and I think a lot of people are conforming to the belief that that’s the way things should be.’
Axian believes this corporate philosophy of material hedonism has turned music away from what he calls, ‘the language of feelings’ – a statement that seems imbued with the Schopenhauerian sentiment for how music should be: a transcendental experience. At the same time, he locates his promotion of these underground artists within a growing ‘revolution against over-polished music’ where conformity is about creating ‘products rather than music.’
In the essay, ‘Music at Night’ Aldous Huxley conveys the idea that music, at its most integral reduction, is the equivalent of some of humanity’s ‘most significant and most inexpressible experiences.’ During our conversation, Axian expressed a similar notion, forwarding the idea that creating music is ‘all about conveying your feelings or emotions into something tangible.’ Whilst operating under the hegemony of ‘money hungry labels’ he sees the wider industry as largely formulaic, operating through an absence of creativity. This paradigm stands at the opposite end of an artistic vision based on the principles of conveyed experience, through which audiences can learn to understand the world and their place within it.
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