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Enter eAeon, South Korea’s Modern Rock Prodigy With a Haunting Sadness

Singer-songwriter eAeon (이이언) has been creating music since 1996. One of my favourite artists of all time since I discovered his band “Mot” in 2006, he has since come on my radar once again for defending a South Korean voice actress who was fired for wearing a feminist t-shirt.

A mysterious character whose private life is closely guarded from the public, eAeon sometimes goes months, or even years, without social media presence. Having studied electrical engineering at Yonsei University and music technology at Korea University of Arts, he originally wanted to become a computer programmer, but chose music for its creativity. He often uses words such as “architecture” and “structure” when talking about his music. His team members complain about how difficult it is to reproduce his written music in play (Huffington Post, March 2016), and were recruited by eAeon for having a solid understanding of music theory.

His signature sound mixes electronica and jazz, while always giving us that synthesised, sad, ephemeral tone. Most of his solo music is produced entirely by himself and a computer, and uses experimental sounds and beats which are difficult to reproduce with a live band. He also looks for the “non-linear”, the atypical in his music. If motifs are taken from well-known genres of music, eAeon twists it to paint it over with that typical, blue sound he is well-known for. such experimental sound has even topped the charts in South Korea, usually dominated by the sweet, bubblegum and hip-hop sounds of K-Pop. His band, Mot, has received the Best New Artist award in 2005, and the Best Modern Rock Album award in 2008.

서울은 흐림 
시간은 느림 
추억은 그림 
그대는 흐림 
서울은 흐림 
생각은 느림 
널 그린 그림 
기억은 흐림
아무 말도 아무 일도 아무 예감도 없이 아무렇지 않게 하룬 가고 
아무 말도 아무 일도 아무 예감도 없이 아무렇지 않게 나도

Seoul is cloudy
Time goes slow
Memories are painted
You are cloudy
Seoul is cloudy
Thoughts are slow
Painted is you
Memories are cloudy
No words, nothing, no predictions, nothing happens, a day passes
No words, nothing, no predictions, nothing happens, to me

Such are the lyrics from a typical eAeon song. In an interview with SisaIn (March 2018), he talks about the hidden sweetness in his melancholic music: “Being sad requires great energy […] when we’re depressed and sad, we need to listen to such music and to find our energy […]”.

eAeon also seems to enjoy covering popular songs and adding his melancholic twist by tweaking the octaves and adding, as seen here in his rendition of Harder Better Faster Stronger by Daft Punk.

Photo credits: Topclass Magazine at Chosun Media


non linear mot
Universal Music

strange weather
이상한 계절 (Strange Weather)
Sony BMG

guilt free
Elephant Music/Sony Music

재의 기술 (Ashcraft)
Sony Music

Follow eAseon on Twitter:
Follow Mot on Facebook:
This entry was posted in: Library


Internationally lost since 2000, Emily was born in Seoul, raised in India, and has been living and studying in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands since 2014. A translator and interpreter by profession, she enjoys talking and debating just about anything.

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