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22 April, 2004

Very limited edition

Last night, Steven Wilson HQ announced a new album release from the Headphone Dust label.  By this morning, it had totally sold out.

Steven Wilson's 'Unreleased Electronic Music Vol.1' is an 11-track, 65-min compilation containing exactly what the title suggests; more precisely, music created since 1990, somewhat similar to that of SW's ambient project Bass Communion but "more rhythmic and mostly in a dark-hop [?] or electronic vein".  Some pieces were created for television commissions, but none were ever fully developed.

The presentation is rather... special:

Each disc (a high quality Taiyo Yuden CDR) is packaged in a slim line DVD container, with a numbered and signed index card. In addition, each copy contains it's own one of a kind original Polaroid photograph taken by Lasse Hoile specifically for the project. At present there are only 100 copies available to purchase (though there may be a second batch at some point in the future)."

I case it's unclear, SWHQ is SW's personal site, Headphone Dust is his personal record label, and the hands which made this handmade edition will have been his own! I suspect the otherwise ludicrously small number of copies is limited because that's the number he could personally afford the time to make and distribute.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Disappointed that I'm unlikely to ever hear this music. Amused and impressed that SW can and does make such personal album releases. Annoyed that yet again he's indulged his obsession with exclusive editions and miniscule print runs.

I have absolutely no doubt that an edition of 1,000-1,500 mass-produced CDs in standard jewel cases, or an unlimited release on the burn-on-demand basis already used for 'Bass Communion III' would sell well, any initial outlay for preparation being recouped from sales. In addition to making the music available to anyone who wants it, this would also combat the predatory profiteering of eBay sharks.

It's only four days since much the same situation occurred: the deliberately exclusive Klanggalerie label released the 7" 'Vajrayana' Bass Communion single, an edition specially extended to 200 copies. It obviously sold out immediately.

Much as I like the music, this isn't a game I'm prepared to play.

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