Investigating Modern Eon In The Modern World

modern eon monktone
Liverpool’s Modern Eon

One of the highlights in moving the entire contents of my Record Cell in the last six weeks, was that I got the chance to touch so much of my collection that might be inaccessible due to placement issues. I have to say that physically touching my record collection gave me great joy, for the first thing. But another treat was in removing all of the records to live elsewhere for a while, I came across an album I would have sworn on a stack of Trouser Press issues that I had sold off 20 years ago for grocery money.

And speaking of Trouser Press, that was why I had even a clue about Liverpudlian band Modern Eon in the first place! I had read a review of their sole album in issue #67 [typically, it was a pan…] and a decade or so later, when I came upon a copy of the album in the early 90s, of course it was an immediate buy! I had contemplated selling off my copy of “Fiction Tales” as well as Eyeless In Gaza’s “Photographs As Memories” for, as I said, grocery money. Things were tight then. But this is thankfully not the case, as I’ve had regrets on the [imagined] issue in the last decade or so.

modern eon - fiction tales cover art
Dindisc | UK | LP | 1981 | DID 11

Modern Eon : Fiction Tales – UK – LP [1981]

  1. Second Still
  2. The Grass Still Grows
  3. Playwrite
  4. Watching The Dancers
  5. Real Hymn
  6. Waiting For The Cavalry
  7. High Noon
  8. Child’s Play
  9. Choreography
  10. Euthenics
  11. In A Strange Way
  12. Mechanic

The band were produced by Liverpool denizen Laurence Diana, but the only member of the band that rang any bells with my failing memory was Tim Lever, whom many may remember as the bald gent [you can’t miss him in the image above] in Dead or Alive. This album on the Dindisc label and has never reached the silver disc, so I guess it’s up to me to DIY that one day soon. If I ever get time for hobbies this year. But you know how The Monk rolls; what would be the bonus tracks on this REVO edition? I’ve got to try for perfection, right?

modern eon -pieces cover art

Pieces 7″ EP

Eon | UK | 1979 | EON 001

  1. Second Still
  2. Special Control
  3. Choreography
  4. The Look A Smack

The first EP has an illustration by keyboardist Bob Wakelin, who had a larger career as a comic artist/illustrator, apparently. I’m sure the two songs repeated on the album were re-recorded for that!

modern eon - euthemics cover art

Euthenics 7″ [v.1]

Inevitable | UK | 1980 | INEV 003

  1. Euthenics [v. 1]
  2. Waiting For The Cavalry [v. 1]

The band next hooked up with local label Inevitable for their first step into a larger world of indie players. The band self-produced these earlier versions of songs they’d revisit on “Fiction Tales.” Wakelin once again sleeved it all.

modern eon -euthemics 2 cover art

Euthenics 7″ [v.2]

Dindisc | UK | 1981 | DIN 30

  1. Euthenics [v. 2]
  2. Cardinal Signs

After making a splash on an indie, Virgin subsidiary Dindisc came a calling. The band re-recorded “Euthenics” but what I really need to know was if the 7″ was remixed differently than the LP version. At the very least, there’s a non-LP B-side to be had here.

modern eon - child's play cover art

Child’s Play 7″ [v.2]

Dindisc | UK | 1981 | DIN 31

  1. Child’s Play [v. 2]
  2. Visionary

I’m going to take a wild bet that the “Child’s Play” 7″ was re-recorded for single usage since the 7″ cites a recording at Free Range Studios while the LP was recorded at The Manor; Virgin’s famed residential studio.

modern eon - mechanic cover art

Mechanic 7″

Dindisc | UK | 1981 | DIN 35

  1. Mechanic
  2. Splash!

On the other hand, their final single, “Mechanic,” appears to be straight from the album. A non-LP B-side, “Splash!” was included.

So in a nutshell, Modern Eon was a Liverpool band with a three year history, going from self-released EPs to local big indie label to Virgin subsidiary in that time. They had their shot and their apotheosis and coda came swiftly for the group in the crucial year of 1981; perhaps my favorite year in music ever. There appears to be this much in the way of supplemental material that I would add to the album on CD.

  1. Second Still
  2. Special Control
  3. Choreography
  4. The Look A Smack
  5. Euthenics [v. 1]
  6. Waiting For The Cavalry [v. 1]
  7. Cardinal Signs
  8. Child’s Play [v. 2]
  9. Visionary
  10. Splash

Ten more tracks of rarities. That appears to be more than I could reasonably expect to add to the dozen LP tracks on a single CD, so that frees my hand to make the CD” of “Fiction Tales” with the rest, if I can ever source it, as a supplemental CD of its own. Most of these singles are strictly for sale in the UK only, so that will probably stay my hand. Otherwise, my Curator’s Sickness would probably see me waiting another 15 years to buy those five seven inchers to finally make the 2xCD album before keeling over.

-30-

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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16 Responses to Investigating Modern Eon In The Modern World

  1. Andy B says:

    As a young person growing up in Liverpool, in the early 80’s and loving many local bands, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Modern Eon.
    I never came across any of their records, read any reviews of their music or gigs back in the day. I’m really quite shocked. I’m going to have to check them out.

    Like

  2. slur says:

    I’m really curious – Did you sell the Eyeless In Gaza LP in favour of this then ?

    Like

  3. SimonH says:

    Great album. Various tracks have appeared in recent years on a number of Cherry Red box sets, which makes me wonder whether the long promised cd reissue may yet appear… I have a cd r put together by Scott Davis many years ago, he did a good job!

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  4. schwenko says:

    another track to deplete your cash reserves is “Benched Down/70s Sixties”

    https://www.discogs.com/master/697509-Various-Street-To-Street-A-Liverpool-Album

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      schwenko – Ah, the classic “Street To Street” Liverpool compilation! I neglected to do a rigorous search in Discogs for loose bits not in the band’s “mothership.” That’s always a source of revelatory material.

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  5. Scott says:

    Oh, let me share for those who were unaware. I sent a request in to Universal to license Modern Eon a few years ago. The UK had the US office ask me a few specific questions and I thought a clearance was forthcoming. Many months rolled by so I sent an inquiry. They told me the request had been ‘lost’ and I needed to send it in again. How do you lose a request where the process is entirely electronic and should have a digital footprint to find it? Anyway, I re-submitted and started from scratch. Then towards mid-2021, it started swirling that Cherry Red were working on a 40th Anniversary Edition of Fiction Tales, which was to include the BBC sessions I wanted to include as well. After throwing up my hands in frustration, I sent a request to Universal to cancel my reissue request. The well-rumored Anniversary edition never came out. I’m not submitting another request. I guess it’s just not meant to be.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Scott – I had no idea of all of this Modern Eon [boy, is it difficult not to type “Eno” for “Eon” each time I do that…] activity. The well-rumored 40th anniversary edition should not be discounted yet just because we’re 18 months out. After all…pandemic. This year we’re supposed to the the “40th anniversary” ultrabox of “Rage In Eden” at least a year late! I think I’ll adopt a “wait and see posture” on Modern Eon, armed with this notion. It could save me much effort and expenditure.

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  6. Scott says:

    To answer some of your questions re: the singles, here’s some info. As you may recall, much of the album segued from one track into the next. Euthenics on 7″ was the LP version without the segues. Not remixed at all, just a standalone version. Child’s Play was pretty much the same, essentially the LP version without the segues. Mechanic, on the other hand, was a completely new recording of the song. I like it but I wouldn’t be able to choose between the LP and single versions, as they both have their appeal. Regarding the B sides, I personally find all three (Cardinal Signs, Visionary, and especially Splash!) to be the best material the band did. The early EP, Pieces, shows their initial approach was less ‘whispery’, vocal wise, and sparser musically. I prefer the more direct singing to the whisper style of the LP, but that’s just me.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Scott: That’s the kind of discographical info that’s worth gold to me! Thanks! But as per my usual S.O.P., I have never played the Modern Eon album in the 30 [mumble] years I have owned it. My policy is to play a record [even a used one] once, to digitize it. Even in the pre-CD era, I played things once to tape to make a cassette to actually listen to. All of the records I buy take decades to hear. Sad, but true.

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  7. drivel says:

    The ‘Musical Guide to Modern Eon’ book can now be pre-ordered “…anticipating Cherry Red Records’ release of Modern Eon’s Fiction Tales later this year:” https://www.spaceward.co.uk/product-page/musical-guide-to-modern-eon

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      drivel – I just saw that in a PM from commenter schwenko a little bit earlier. So now th Cherry Red Modern Eon DLX RM is a “thing.” Let’s see when they announce it.

      Like

  8. Just for those who can’t wait, Fiction Tales is available on Apple Music (and, I presume, Spotify) with one bonus track: “Cardinal Signs.” I concur with Scott that this one b-side I currently have access to is superior to the album tracks I have now listened to. Still not crazy about the singer, but the band is good. It will be interesting to see what the Cherry Red version will choose to add to the main album. Given the relatively sparse amount of known extra material, I’d say they should go for the whole enchilada so that PPM can focus on his burgeoning BSOG to-do list!

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  9. Matthew Trbuhovic says:

    Hi, I enjoyed your feature on Modern Eon, a band I’m a big fan of ever since I bought their Cassette, solely based on the cover, then the LP. Both were lost in the dust of the 80’s but I managed to get a good FLAC copy of the album and also a few years ago, this fantastic compilation on CD. I bought it from a dealer on ebay who was doing excellent vinyl rips and selling CDs. Kind of bootleg but he had some amazing 80’s collections and compilations. I’m trying to find a reference but will keep hunting.

    Anyway, this is the track list: 01 Second Still 02 The Grass Still Grows 03 Playwrite 04 Watching The Dancers 05 Real Hymn 06 Waiting For The Cavalry 07 High Noon 08 Child’s Play 09 Choregraphy 10 Euthenics 11 In A Strange Way 12 Mechanic 13 Second Still (7″ mix) 14 Special Patrol 15 Choregraphy (7″ mix) 16 The Look A Smack 17 Euthenics (7″ mix) 18 Waiting For The Cavalry (7″ mix) 19 Cardinal Signs 20 Child’s Play (7″ mix) 21 Visionary 22 Mechanic (7″ mix) 23 Splash!

    If you’re excited by this I’m happy to share, the quality is hard to fault, no cracks or pops at all so I’m guessing it’s a vinyl source.

    Like

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