Outsider music has had no Harry Smith or Alan Lomax to discover, with such zeal and focus of purpose, its' unpretentious talents. The two 'folksong hunters' realizing the importance of making recordings to serve collective memory. Respectively collating an anthology of American folk music and travelling the globe making recordings, their work became the absolute reference point for folk and world music.
With no such custodian for the outsider genre, the sounds of Adolf W???lfi blowing into a cardboard tube to play his enigmatic scores, or the threnodies of Arthur K. Ferris played on his giant violins with their insides covered with writings and holy texts, will sadly never be heard again.
However, thanks to recent developments in technology and a growing interest in outsider music, a few of these unusual performers are beginning to be recorded.
Some of these musicians operate in mental or social isolation and make their music in special workshops while others can be classified with the spiritualist or visionary artists. Others again, like Daniel Johnston and Wesley Willis, have become cult figures.
Like the surrealist and expressionist artists, who were amazed by the strangeness and authenticity of work made in asylums, many members of today's music scene get inspiration from such 'outsider' music and feel it comes from another world. In some cases less than 100 copies were pressed, or even just one copy, and they have never been distributed outside the circle of family and friends.