You may or may not have heard of this, but more likely than not, you have. In case you haven’t, here’s the lowdown.
Back in 1994, Richard D. James of Aphex Twin fame recorded an album under one of his other pseudos, Caustic Window. It made it to the test pressing stage, but was ultimately abandoned as a commercial release — no word on why.
Depending on who you ask, there are only five test pressings of this double EP, but according to a few media sources, an ex-employee of Rephlex Records, the label where this release was going to be published, has said there are many more.
In any case, last April, Fact Magazine noticed there was a copy of that test pressing for sale on Discogs. A fan forum called We Are The Music Makers then reached a deal with the artist himself to release all 70 minutes of said album.
They launched a Kickstarter campaign, which raised $67,424. All contributors to that campaign received a digital copy of the album as of Monday (June 16), and a playlist of all the tracks has been uploaded to YouTube for your streaming enjoyment (below).
As for the physical copy, it is now on sale on eBay and bids have surpassed the $10,500 mark, as of this writing. The proceeds of that sale will be equally split between the artist, the label, and a charity as yet to be determined.
UPDATE: The eBay sale cam to a close and the record has sold for a whopping $46,300! It turns out that the buyer is Markus “Notch” Persson, the very wealthy designer of the Minecraft videogame. The proceeds of this sale will be divided equally between the artist and his label, a charity as yet to be determined, while the other third will go back to the Kickstarter contributors as a rebate.
As for the music, we’ll let you judge on your own, but my personal take on it is that it is classic Richard D. James material that fits perfectly with the rest of his output from that era — be it as Polygon Window, Aphex Twin, AFX or Caustic Window — but it’s certainly not groundbreaking or stand-out material; it sounds more like a compilation of forgotten demos than a full, ready-for-prime-time album.
Frankly, I kinda understand why, ultimately, someone — or the proverbial “They” — decided to not release this…
If you’re a rich completist, then by all means, go bid on the vinyl (you have a week left!), otherwise, you’ll be quite content with just a stream of those tracks.