UPDATE 4/9: Looks like The Caustic Window Album will become available for a significantly more affordable price soon, albeit still in somewhat limited fashion. As Pitchfork reports, the owner of the test pressing struck a deal with with electronic music forum We Are The Music Makers. The site’s administer, who posts under the name Joyrex, negotiated the price down to £5,000 ($8,368.54) and will be launching a Kickstarter where 500 digital copies of the album will be sold for £10 ($16.73) each. As Joyrex explains it:
Once the 5000.00 GBP funding amount is met, the record will be turned over to me, and in turn I will contract with someone to produce a high-quality rip (lossless) of the vinyl – in turn, all the people that contribute to the Kickstarter will get a digital version of the tracks, which will be provided by WATMM. The license Rephlex is providing for this is ONLY for the 500 people who contribute to the Kickstarter, nothing more.
Before the digital tracks are released, the record will be put up for auction on Ebay, and once sold, 1/3 of the proceeds will go to Richard/Rephlex as royalty payment, 1/3 will be divided equally between the Kickstarter contributors (a discount if you will off the initial purchase amount), and 1/3 to a charity that we will all vote and agree upon (suggestions are welcome – e.g.: Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund…). Once the auction is complete and payment received, everyone will get to download their promised digital version.
So unless all 500 people buying into this Kickstarter are Boy Scouts, The Caustic Window Album just might be out there in the world soon.
UPDATE 4/10: The Kickstarter is live.
UPDATE 5/10: The Kickstarter was successfully funded, raising $67,424 (the goal was $9,300). Digital downloads become available in June.
In 1994, Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James, under the Caustic Window guise he’d used to release a number of EPs, recorded an LP entitled The Caustic Window Album that made it to test pressing phase before being aborted. Fan consensus has long suggested that only four test pressings exist and are in the possession of Chris Jeffs, Grant Claridge-Wilson, Mike Paradinas, and Richard D. James. But as FACT reports, an alleged fifth test pressing popped up for sale on Discogs at a price of $13,500. FACT spoke with an ex-Warp and Rephlex Records employee who says there are in fact more than four copies out there; they also conferred with the UK-based seller, who claims he can “demonstrate [the record’s] authenticity & deliver by any reasonable means.” There’s no chance of verifying the record via audio because part of the selling point is that it’s unplayed, but there are photos of the run-out groove. The seller was also looking to move a copy of another James rarity, AFX’s unreleased 1995 EP Analogue Bubblebath Vol. 5, for $1,000 — the authenticity of which can allegedly be “confirmed directly by Rephlex Records” — but that sale is no longer live.