Thursday, 18 June 2009

Remembering Ian Loveday, 22 September 1954 – 17 June 2009

Above: Tobie Giddio and Ian Loveday, June 1989; Ian Loveday and John Peel at BBC Radio One

Mark Moore rang me yesterday with bad news. His dear friend – our own dear friend – Ian Loveday had died earlier that day, at St Mary's Hospital in London, due to complications with a sudden bout of pneumonia. Ian leaves his partner, Jo Christophe, parents and a sister plus a family of friends and admirers built up and nurtured over the years spent in clubs and studios. While much of Ian's music favoured a hard-edged, brooding nuance, perhaps influenced by his great love of all things sci-fi, in real life, Ian was quite different. Quiet and gracious, he was also an immensely kind man, an uncommon attribute in the more competitive realms of clubland. He loved and valued those around him.

As a DJ/musician and producer, Ian went under a host of aliases – Ian B, Ian Beta, Eon, Minimal Man, Rio Rhythm Band and most recently, Tan-Ru and 1integral amongst them – but for me and many others, when he wasn't being Ian, he was simply Binty. I'm not sure where the nickname came from – I suspect it went deep into the years of friendship that he and Mark had shared, long before I came on the scene in 1988, just in time for the efflorescence of the British acid house scene of which both Ian and Mark were an integral part.

Unusually for one involved in techno, Ian had a level of practical technological knowledge that fed into his music. After a late 1970s/early 1980s stint playing disco at the Royalty in Southgate, he got a proper job in telecommunications: he fixed telephone lines and designed a car phone that was years before its time; he also made bugging devices. This material engagement with the mechanical meant that he was fond of tinkering: for months in the late 1980s, his kitchen floor was covered with pieces from a disembowelled washing machine that he was repairing. Musician Dan Donovan remembers Ian's minute attention to detail: "After the move from analogue to digital production, Ian, like many others, switched to working in the box, that is through his Mac and its various devices. Unlike others, he would check, test and note every single preset [loaded into his machines]." It was laborious work, but typical of his level of industry.

But it was a trip, with Mark Moore, to see a Mantronix gig in the mid-1980s that got Ian back into club music. He began playing hiphop, rare groove, funk and go-go as a warm-up DJ at the Mudd Club and Heaven. When the early Chicago 12-inches from Phuture, Frankie Knuckles, Larry Heard and their ilk began to arrive in London in 1986, Mark and Ian were among the first DJs to realise their significance and revolutionary import. Their shopping trips to all the various independent records stores were always pleasurable outings.

Work peaked: Eon's first releases on Vinyl Solution, Hooj Tunes and XL Recordings, where a track of Ian's was their debut release, picked up fans in clubs and Kiss, then still a pirate radio station. Studio work was also rich: Ian recorded Light, Colour, Sound, an austere piece of 1988 brilliance with J Saul Kane (aka Depth Charge) and embarked on a long association with Peter Ford with whom the Minimal Man project was started. He continued working with Mark Moore, by now busy with his chart-topping S'Express. Ian was a fixture behind the decks of London's major house clubs of 1988-89 – RIP at Clink Street, Danny and Jenni Rampling's Shoom, Pyramid (at Heaven, with Mark Moore and Colin Faver) and at the Fridge in Brixton for Nicky Trax's Planet Love, where Ian and Mark were the house DJs.

In addition to a welter of 12-inch releases and various collaborations, including – with Baby Ford –"Dead Eye", the highly regarded debut for Ifach Records in 1994, Eon released two albums: Void Dweller (1992), which contained the influential tracks Spice and Basket Case, and, in 2003, Sum of Parts (on Long Haul Records). He was a favourite of John Peel and the influential Radio One DJ invited him to record numerous sessions for his radio show. The last 18 months of Ian's life was spent working closely with Peter Ford. Ian's remix of a 1998 Baby Ford track, "Make Your Own Sunshine", on Ford's Pal SL label, was his last recording.

Ian's legacy to younger musicians lies in his music: he was inspirational in his breadth of vision and also with the precision with which he executed it. Dan Donovan cites him as "a British electro pioneer with his own distinct sound". Peter Ford remembers Ian's rare mixture of inspired ability and humility: "It was a beautiful combination: that someone could be so talented and gifted and also so modest. He was never negative." Mark Moore praises Ian's character as a "mad scientist, a surrealist and unique". Ian was generous with his time and energies and he is already very much missed.


  1. Ian, you will be missed. I'm happy that you liked the music video that I made for your song on Youtube. THE SPICE MUST FLOW!

    You have left us but your music will continue on….


  2. Very Sad News. A unique contributor.

  3. So sorry to hear of his passing - Eon Spice for ever.

  4. Growing up in America, a good distance away from where Ian's gems were created, I first heard them at a warehouse rave, and immediately fell in love with the sound, it's style and it's obvious craftsmanship. Whomever created "Spice" had their finger on the pulse, I thought. I've collected everything I could find of Ian's, and will track down anything else I'm missing. Upon hearing the news of Ian's passing, I froze. Ian's music was, and will always be, a humongous part of me. I wish I had been able to meet him, and actually tried to find him when I was in London in 2000, if for no other reason to meet the man who got me writing my own music, and to say "Thank you." I've been a DJ for years, and I've wanted to give back to the community that gave me so much as a raver back in the day. Ian, the man, his music, and his spirit lives within anyone who heard his creations, nay MASTERPIECES. I miss him terribly, and would like to extend my condolences to his immediate family and friends. I too, share in your loss. Please feel free to e-mail me at:

    Brian K. James

  5. So smyad to hear of Ian's passing. His music as Eon was and still is a big part of my life. His music reverberated through many warehouses in Los Angeles back in the day. Thank you for being a part of every party. You will be missed.


  6. very sad to hear of this news.
    Eon,especially, was a milestone in my musical upbringing, having got into electronic music mainly through pirate radio.
    R.I.P Ian, and thanks for your grooviness and love of sci-fi - 'He who controls the Spice controls the universe !
    - Richard (London) x

  7. A bit late upon hearing this news but I seem to recall meeting Ian @ Sin / Astoria a good few years ago.. Still got my copy of the EON LP and it's still sounding phat ! RIP and thanks to Lou for this page..

  8. Tragic, only heard the news when listening to some of his gems on you-tube,


    electronic pioneer

  9. you will be sadly missed ian, eon the spice must flow,was a classic up north were we used to play, it took me to another world, hearing that permissive beat with the samples from dune, it will live on , as an alltime favourite of mine and many others ,peace to your family mate, go play those decks in the sky!peace steve phillips

  10. I'm gutted upon looking up Spice on YouTube to hear of the passing of Ian B (as he was to me). Spice was, and remains, a seminal piece of music for myself and my mum and dad. We put together the ZEN raves at the Slough Centre back in 89-91 and Spice was a favourite, one of a number of so special and unique tunes wobbling our massive bass bins back then. Nights and music that were so special to us. My father and I had the pleasure of bumping in to him one night in 1990 when he was spinning at the Fridge, where I was taken aback and pleasantly surprised that the creator of such a massive monster of a tune was such a jolly fellow, kissing me on the cheek after our chat before his set! I'm sure he's missed by many. Spice will always be one of those tunes that transports my peeps back to the most memorable time of our lives. And though I didn't know him personally I feel very sad that the genius, and I mean that, behind this tune is gone. But not forgotten. Love to all that knew him. From Chris Natural and the ZEN family.

  11. Spice changed everything for me, it was the step into producing more music to the present day label owner... to this day SPICE is and will be all that moved the masses in different locations to a new era in music! I know it sparked something in my head that would never die out. Thank you Ian your work will leave many seeking your name for a long time. Good Job you did your part... R.I.P bro' man!

  12. I only now learned of his passing. I had played the Spice song only just right around that time, just before this posting for some, perhaps, not-so-odd reason. That goes down as one of my favorite electronic songs of all time, inspiring me as much as any other in existence. Thank you for having posted these details about him I hadn't seen elsewhere. I hope to bump into him when it's my time.

  13. Whew. I met Eon during a visit to the west coast many years back (80? 81?) and we were very good friends, his ideas on music and society were important to me and helped form my own approach to electronic music. He asked me to design a cassette cover which I did under the name "Juadai Levi" and I still have the cover, the tape was eaten , unfortunately. Eugene, Oregon was almost glowing with energy and Ian's personal fire was intense. The local music scene associated drum machines and synths to be disco or something and denied us any chance to perform together. His cassette was finished and remixed, the music was not really dance music but electronic. We lost touch after a while (Family health issues here) and he returned to the U.K. I was amazed to see the first CD come out and tried to establish contact but was unable to do so. It was really strange to hear his ideas about music and later see that he sincerely meant what he said. Disco was dead less than 5 years in the USA at that time and what we were trying to do separately and together musically was fresh. I eventually forgot about being heard and raised my family and listened to Eon and felt really great about his success.
    His influence on me is not easy to describe , but is quite real. His energy was positive and his delivery powerful. Thanks Ian for showing me that dreams can be real. I am once again doing music and I respect the effort it took for him to "go for it" and be what I consider him to be, a pioneer in Electronica.

    Psiklon A/k/A David Grindstaff

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  16. The Spice Must Flow was the first record I put on a 1200 and been in love ever since... TY Ian...