Evolution of Outsider House



In 2010, a groovy lo-fi genre called outsider house started making waves on YouTube around the same time vaporwave and chillhop were getting popular. Its name was first coined by London DJ Ben UFO, who described this low fidelity brand of house music as synonymous with outsider art, an art-form championing self-taught or untrained artists. Youtube’s viewer behaviour algorithm, which personalizes video recommendations, helped outside house gain a strong online following.




Outsider house is mostly influenced by Chicago house, techno-noise, and downtempo. Other influences include acid house and microhouse, which popularized the use of unconventional sounds like non-musical rhythmic elements, backwards samples and experimental synths used in outsider house. Sampling is a major component of outsider house, often borrowing snippets of hip hop.




Subtle grooviness and an intentionally unpolished sound come together with hypnotic layers, noise, and warped samples mixed with old school house beats to define the core sound of outsider house. On a production level, the creation of outsider house can mainly be attributed to making music that sounds warped and gritty. Emulated tape machines, vinyl noise and low-pass filters commonly used in outsider house.



Lowtec - "Chord Memory"

Germany, 2009


Lowtec releases "Chord Memory" off of the two track EP, "Traffic III" with Dazko.



Terekke - "Bank 3"

Amsterdam, 2013


American-born but based in Amsterdam, Terekke entrances his listeners with the hypnotic low fidelity track "Bank 3".



LNRDCROY - "I Met You On BC Ferries"

Vancouver, 2014


LNRDCROY flows in with reflective track "I Met You On BC Ferries" off of the album, Much Less Normal.



Riohv - "Obstacle"

Montreal, 2019


Riohv invokes downtempo low-fidelity vibes through the release of "Obstacle"



Evolution of House Music

Check out our 31-part series, starting with an overview of house music's 40-year history.

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