Lo-fi confuses me because there's no longer an excuse for it. Is there? But in this case it's free, Pitchfork gives it an 8, and it's good as music. That's not the order in which the merit of this EP should be considered, but I've not met anyone yet who doesn't understand that free is a bargain.
Those like me unfamiliar with How To Dress Well might want to read THIS ARTICLE on Pitchfork. Music made by a philosophy research fellow who makes music by night then gives it away makes good copy. There's no denying the ethereal quality of the music, especially the featured song, "suicide dream 2." Tom Krell, who is How To Dress Well, gives away a lot of songs on his blog.
The lo-fi'ness of the work, part of the genre and experience (I think), can grate at times and I have yet to come to full terms with the distortions since they detract from the mysticism. At least I think it's intentional -- it's only 144 kbps as a homemade mp3, understandable given the price, but even a rate of 128 should be able to give a fairly decent listen. I can never be certain if lo-fi comes from poor recording equipment coupled with a musician who has no engineer (as with lo-fi's origins), or if the lo- fi sound is simply part of the art. I've had the same experience with professionally produced trip-hop as I fall in love with the music and then wonder why it has to sound like a poorly treated LP,evoking the surface noise that gave us cause to light up when CDs came out a million years ago with the promise of distortion and crackle free playback. But I digress.Or do I?