An eBay seller is auctioning off what he’s describing as “the holy grail of Aphex Twin memorabilia”: a Yamaha CS-5 synth that was not only owned by Richard D James, but also features his etchings, which were photographed and served as the liner notes for his album Selected Ambient Works Volume II.
Confirming how the instrument came into his possession, the seller says: “This synth was purchased by me in 2006 from a Vemia auction in the UK. Other than loaning it to Ghostly/Suction Records recording artist Solvent to record his RDJCS5ep 12-inch in 2011, the synth has been carefully stored at my house.
“The synth has never been serviced, repaired, or modified by me, and is in the same condition as when I received it. It runs on 230V UK power, with a UK plug.
“You can see some additional etchings and markings in the photos - these were all in place (and likely done by Aphex Twin himself) when I received it. It’s in perfect working order as far as I know, but I offer no guarantee of its functional condition; anyone who’s buying this will surely be buying it for its provenance.”
In an update to his initial post, the seller has included a quote from Paul Nicholson, who designed the Aphex Twin logo and the gatefold LP for Selected Ambient Works Volume II. He says: “I met Richard in October 1991 and designed his logo and logotype. I also designed the sleeve for Selected Ambient Works II. As such, I can vouch for the fact that it was Richard that etched on the back of the synth.”
The seller clearly believes that this is a valuable music technology artefact, and it turns out that there are people out there who agree. There have been multiple bids - the latest being a whopping $15,400 - though, with a couple of days to go, the reserve price has not yet been met.
If you’re looking for a rather more affordable Aphex Twin ‘signature’ synth, you might like to consider Novation’s AFX Station, a special Aphex edition of the company’s Bass Station II.