An unreleased vinyl record by electronic music pioneer Richard David James (aka Aphex Twin) sold on eBay Monday for $46,300. Not bad for a record that’s only 20 years old.
Often called the “holy grail” of electronic music, the record was slated for release in 1994 on James’ label Rephlex Records under his moniker Caustic Window, but never made it past a few test pressings given to James, two fellow musicians and the co-founder of Rephlex.
Fans didn’t find out about the record until one of those four, Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) told an Aphex Twin fan website about it in 1999. James keeps a notoriously low profile, releasing music on a number of aliases and reportedly having more than 100 hours of unreleased music.
Only a couple of tracks found the light of day via mix compilations. Then one of the test pressings showed up on the popular music marketplace website Discogs for around $10,000.
Members of the electronic music forum We Are The Music Makers (WATMM) half-jokingly came up with an idea to crowdfund the money and digitally release the record to all who funded it. They got in touch with James and Rephlex, who approved the idea, and they put up a campaign on Kickstarter.
Out of a goal of $9,300, the Kickstarter raised $67,424. With the album ripped at the highest possible quality and distributed to all financiers, the actual physical record went up on eBay. That brings the total for the record to over $100,000. Most will go to charity, with at least half of the $40,000 raised on eBay likely going to Doctors Without Borders.
Is it worth it? Apparently it is, at least for one wealthy, charitable fan of 1990s acid techno. You be the judge. Here's the whole album on YouTube: