Aphex Twin is one of the greatest producers in the history of electronic music, an eccentric genius who can effortlessly vacillate between proto-dubstep ragers like “Come to Daddy” and soothingly melodic ambient music, sometimes within the same song. Although he’s been largely absent from the scene for well over a decade, Aphex Twin -- aka Richard D. James -- was wildly prolific during the 1990s, producing a staggering number of albums, EPs, and singles under a variety of aliases.
One of those albums was an unreleased 1994 LP entitled Caustic Window, of which only a limited number of vinyl test pressings were produced. Earlier this year, a Kickstarter campaign was launched for 500 digital copies of the album, following the sale of a rare physical copy of that album on eBay. With the digital copies released and the eBay auction closed, it appeared that the saga of one of the great lost electronic albums was finally at a close, and it is, but with an interesting footnote: the person who made the successful eBay bid of $46,300 is none other than Markus “Notch” Persson, the man behind the hugely popular video game Minecraft.
“So I kinda paid a lot for a double LP from the ‘90s..” Persson wrote on his Twitter yesterday, leading to speculation that he was either the winning bidder for Caustic Window or that he spent way too much on a vinyl copy of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Persson’s purchase of the album was confirmed today by We Are the Music Makers user Joyrex, the person behind the Kickstarter campaign.
Calling him a “really cool guy,” Joyrex said on the WATMM boards that “My daughter was blown away that the guy who made the game she endlessly plays bought a record off her dad for 46K.” We’re all a little blown away, although in truth, we should have suspected this, as Aphex Twin’s carefully constructed ‘90s ambient music is the perfect soundtrack for carefully constructing block-worlds that look like ‘90s video games.
In any event, Persson is phenomenally wealthy and spending more on an album than most people make in a year is an indulgence he can afford. Meanwhile, someone went ahead and uploaded Caustic Window to YouTube (it's embedded above), so the rest of us can enjoy the collectors item for the low price of nothing. Much of the proceeds of the auction went to charity (a fact that Persson apparently wasn’t aware of when he made his winning bid), Aphex Twin got paid for an album he never actually released, and his fans got new music to satiate them until he finally decides to release the 10 or 11 completed albums he’s just sitting on. For the first time in the history of the music business, everyone wins.