Breaking down lo-fi and house music with Beatmaker and Astra

Exploring new genres is always a great creative exercise for producers across skill levels.

Getting acquainted with the techniques associated with different styles of music can help expand your musical vocabulary, which in turn allows you to blend contrasting influences into a sound that’s uniquely your own. In the video above, we focus on breaking down the key ingredients that constitute two highly popular genres: lo-fi and house. We list out the compositional and production elements that define each style, and then build two quick demo tracks using Splice’s new Beatmaker and Astra plugins.

Check out the full video to follow along, and also see some of the key patterns we mentioned for each genre summarized below.

Popular patterns in lo-fi music

  • The tempo is usually kept on the slower side (around 60 – 110 BPM).
  • The sounds don’t need to have the highest quality; the crackles and distortion are preferred. That’s why lo-fi producers don’t need to worry about owning the fanciest equipment—get recording with your phone’s built-in mic, and you might get some amazing lo-fi samples!
  • The drums are often acoustic kits.
  • Guitar, vocal, synth, and keys samples in particular are currently popular staples in lo-fi beats.
  • Melodies are often slightly detuned. Using some effects such as reverb and delay in conjunction to this technique creates a lovely mellow and atmospheric sound.

Popular patterns in house music

  • House music typically sits between 110 – 130 BPM, although this can vary depending on the subgenre.
  • ‘Pluck’-style instruments are commonly used for melodies that are looking to convey a fun and energetic feel.
  • Alternatively, sampled vocals are another good option depending on your track.
  • Four-on-the-floor-based beats (specifically having a kick drum on every beat, a snare on every second beat, and hi-hats on the offbeats) are highly popular—see how this kind of groove looks in Beatmaker in the image below.

Do you have any of your own tips for creating lo-fi or house music? What genres or topics in music production would you like to see us explore on the Splice YouTube channel next? Let us know in the comments below.

Try Beatmaker and Astra in your own productions with a free trial of the Splice Creator plan:

June 9, 2021

Liina Turtonen Liina 'LNA' Turtonen is a music producer, songwriter, and performer who creates content on the audio production YouTube channel ‘LNA Does Audio Stuff.’