Lo-Fi Music Review: "West Lake" by Saib

Saib dominates in this one, laying down a solemn lo-fi hip hop groove underneath some touching instrumentation.

I first heard “West Lake” on Chillhop Music’s Fall Essentials 2017 compilation that year. As soon as I pulled up the video, clicked play, and heard the first few seconds of Saib’s autumn ambiance, I was hooked.

You know a song’s good when its mood makes you feel everything its suppose to make you feel; in Saib’s case, I felt like I was walking through a city park on a chilly autumn evening, leaves everywhere and trees changing colors. I hadn’t heard a lot of Saib’s music in the past, but “West Lake” was my gateway to his work.

You could classify the song as a lo-fi hip hop track of sorts, but it’s a little more hi-fi than what most may consider to be lo-fi music. The essential element of lo-fi hip hop music, the sampled and famous vinyl crackle, presents itself well in the song, yet functions very simply as a thin bed sheet underneath warmer covers.

What really makes the song spectacular is not only its use of autumn ambiance, but musical ambiance.

The song slides back and forth between two sweeping, finger-picked chords that lay a nice, wide open musical foundation for the couple of block chords that follow. Saib’s melodious guitar fills, on top of the lo-fi beat, narrate your walk in the park only a little more until we hit the gut-punch guitar solo that just takes your breath away. For you music nerds, the song is in the key of E Major and follows a I - V - I chord progression in the A section.

What’s your take on this masterpiece? Let me know in the comments below!