Ultravox’s “Rage In Eden” Boxed Set Is Two Of A Perfect Pair [part 1]

ultravox rage in eden SDLX box
This was one of my 18th birthday gifts to myself on the original release

It shipped to me inexpensively from a US dealer once it went on sale in America in December, 2022; over two months following the late September UK/European release of this ultrabox. It follows in the formats established by the “Vienna” box in 2020. A slipcase with the original art on it that has a pair of gatefold folios inside of it with the goods. The red hype sticker on the front cover tells the tale. ‘We were receiving five CDs, a DVD, a liner notes booklet, and the bonus insert this time [the “Vienna” box featured replicated contact prints of the photo sessions] was a smaller replication of the “Rage In Eden” tour book from the band’s 1981 UK tour.

ultravox rage in eden hype sticker
The hype sticker told the tale

PACKAGING

The split of the material was a little different from the “Vienna” box. Disc one was the original album, as produced by Conny Plank and the band. Disc two was the Steven Wilson 2.0 remix [as a consequence of Wilson’s 5.1 remix] along with Wilson’s 2.0 mix of the two B-sides. Since there were fewer B-sides, Wilson also decided to remix two of the radically different “work-in-progress” mixes; “[I Remember] Death In the Afternoon.” and “Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again].” Such antics had not occurred in the last box.

Disc three was single edits, B-sides sharing the disc with a mixture of bootleg quality cassette rehearsals and much more polished work-in-progress mixes. The last “Vienna” box lacked these work-in-progress mixes, but some had surfaced on the 2xCD DLX RMs of other Ultravox albums form the 2008 series of reissues. By comparison, the “Vienna” box had a whole disc of cassette rehearsals.

Similarly, disc four of “Vienna” was a full disc of cassette rehearsals, while disc five was a live concert. With about 22 minutes of rehearsals on disc three, discs four and five split a full length concert between them. The band were now headlining stars with two hit albums, and the run time of their show had increased slightly beyond the 79:57 capacity of a single Red Book CD at 83:40 in total. Would we want edits to the material in order for it to fit on a single CD? Not on your life.

Disc five was the DVD with high resolution and surround sound mixes in Dolby Digital and DTS formats. It featured over four hours of high resolution music data in 24/96. As with the earlier box, it was possible to cut the shrink wrap that covered the slipcase opening and have the wrap remain on the slipcase to afford it some protection. I suppose that I should look into boxed set bags/keepers for items like this since they are starting to pile up in my Record Cell. I’m sure they sell such goods now.

rage in eden folio spines
The folio spines – discs on the bottom. ephemera on the top

Folio one acted like a gatefold album to contain all six of the discs in the boxed set. Becoming the gatefold cover that Ultravox never really had for the album. Now that I think of it, only their debut album on Island had a gatefold cover design. All of the rest were standard sleeves.

ultravox rage in eden disc folio
folio 1 featured the classic album art printed with the proper metallic gold inks

When the first folio was opened, each of the six discs slipped into pockets in the folio as shown above. The card sleeves were printed with outtakes of the “arm” photos from “The Thin Wall” cover” given negative/tint treatments.

ultravox rage in eden folio
The gatefold of folio 1 was filled with outtakes from Trevor Key’s “Repulsion” photo session

Folio two was a variation on the cover art with a gatefold interior with no paper slots to accept disc sleeves.

rage in eden folio 2 front
The second folio cover art was a “remix” of the iconic LP design

Instead, the gatefold featured the complete lyrics to the album, as designed and printed on the 1981 album’s original inner sleeve in four hard justified slabs of text with the Rage In Eden logo above them.

rage in eden folio 2 gatefold
The gatefold of the second folio contained the lyrics as printed on the original inner sleeve.

One side of folio two featured a large booklet with the liner notes and individual and group photos of the band which I’d not seen before. The cover used a frame blowup of the video from “The Voice” with Midge Ure getting posh key lighting while the rest of the band were cast in shadow dramatically.

rage in eden liner notes cover
liner note booklet cover

Inside were more photos by Trevor Key and Brian Aris complementing the excellent liner notes by the amazing Warren Cann. The amount of detail and revelations he doled out here was up to his usual top flight standard! I really wish he would write the book on Ultravox. It says something that after 40+ years, I can still be learning new things about the creation of this album…thanks to him. He really always came across as the band’s historian and keeper of the flame. We knew the why of the album, and here, he explained the hows of it. Detailing recording methodologies that were instrumental in the creation of this dense and incredibly coherent artistic statement.

rage in eden liner notes pp 1-2
Photos and liner notes by the amazing Warren Cann

Along with the group shot were somewhat morose “high fashion” individual shots of the band in keeping with the morose, European vibe of the album. When I came to the shot of Billy Currie, cutting a still figure in his black trench coat it really triggered a memory…

rage in eden billy as Mr. X
This 1981 photo of Billy Currie from the liner notes seems very…familiar

…That led me to here! The 1984 comic book, Dean Motter’s Mr. X. The Art Deco science fiction comic that was [ironically] inspired in part by the Ultravox song on the previous record. Seeing the Currie photo make me wonder if cover artist Paul Rivoche from the comic had seen these photos in print somewhere before prior to his layout sketch of the first issue cover below. Ultimately, the layout was drawn with expansive areas of flat color with no shading; poster style.

artist Paul Rivoche’s layout for Mr. X number 1

The other half of folio two contained the bonus paper goods; the smaller reproduction of the 1981 tourbook. Except for the cover design, it faithfully reproduced the original. Swapping the album cover art here for the art on the poster that came with the first pressing of the 1981 album.

tour book facsimile
The smaller version of the 1981 tour book

The interior pages were identical to the original printing. Just a bit smaller.

tour book warren
The book was reproduced at three quarter size

Next: …Viva La Difference

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in 5.1, Core Collection, Designed By Peter Saville, Live Music, New Romantic, Record Review, Scots Rock, The Great B-Sides and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Ultravox’s “Rage In Eden” Boxed Set Is Two Of A Perfect Pair [part 1]

  1. *Mike B.* says:

    So PostPunkMonk are you satisfied with the RIE Super Box? Glad you opened it, mine is still sealed. I did receive the RSD Releases Vinyl & CD. Think I got most if not all of what was released last year in terms of RIE issues!

    Like

  2. Andy B says:

    Another excellent Ultravox boxset full of goodies. It still frustrates that ‘The Voice’ and ‘I Remember’ are absent from the Steven Wilson mix due to the tapes going missing. On the plus side, as you point out Monk, the design for the boxset is excellent. The small version of the 1981 tour book is a nice addition too. The band in those days put a lot of effort into the design of record covers etc. That went to pot from ‘U-Vox’ onwards!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Andy B – Well, they lost Saville, didn’t they? OMD didn’t fare so well, either. And yet, the late period New Order sleeves did nothing for me. Maybe an era was over?

      Like

    • JT says:

      >That went to pot from ‘U-Vox’ onwards!

      Although the evolution of the CD into the primary mode of distribution for music (which was well in progress at the time of U-Vox) was a win for fidelity, durability, and increased potential length, the smaller physical format was apocalyptic for the art of album design. The middle 1980s marked the end of a golden age.

      Liked by 1 person

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