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Cyan is a British progressive rock band original formed by Rob Reed in 1984, but which split up after a few performances and one demo tape. In 1991 Rob Reed (Magenta, Trippa) received a letter from a French fan who had received the original demo from Nick Barrett (of Pendragon and a fan of the band) and was amazed that there was still an interest in Cyan.
Reed re-recorded the five original tracks in his own studio, playing all instruments and singing, which attracted label interest from the Dutch label SI. During early 1993 Rob recorded new material, and included some of the previously re-recorded tracks from the last demo for the release of For King And Country in May 1993. It was very well received and resulted in various TV and radio appearances.
In 1994 Rob met Nigel Voyle during the making of the second Cyan album Pictures From The Other Side, through a mutual friend (while working on a cover version of "I Know What I Like" by Genesis). Reed asked him to guest on one track for the new album but was so impressed that Nigel took over all the vocals on the album with Reed and female vocalist Christina Booth (previously known as Christina Murphy) on backing vocals.
Voyle had previously worked with the band, Just Good Friends, who were signed to Polydor and played at the Reading Rock Festival in 1983. Nigel was also invited to audition as Marillion’s new singer before Steve Hogarth was recruited. He is currently working as a session vocalist, producer and an actor with the Welsh National Opera.
Reed explains, "The writing for ‘Pictures From The Other Side’ took about three months. I then made demos of all the tracks with me singing and with all the instrumentation worked out which took another two months. Next we recorded and mixed finished versions of the tracks with Nigel’s vocals and other backing vocals and effects. We did up to eight different mixes of some tracks, and this took another four months. Finally we picked the best mixes and running order, got the cover sorted out, sent the whole lot to SI and hoped that they liked it! The CD was written and recorded at home.''
The closing track "Nosferatu" received radio play in Canada and Russia, mostly on dedicated prog rock stations, and more fans became interested in Cyan. Then came the demise of the Dutch SI label, leaving many bands stranded without a label, and the availability of the two Cyan albums become scarce. In late 1995 Rob was invited to work on a new project by the band, Fyreworks, who were signed to Festival Records (now F2 Records), who were very impressed with Reed's music. With new interest and a growing demand for Cyan, F2 Records approached Rob for permission to release a Cyan compilation CD. Reed wanted to make the music available again but to make it more interesting he felt that some of the tracks should be remixed and reworked. He did so during April 1997, and the compilation, simply called Remastered was officially released worldwide on July 21, 1997. By now Cyan fans were eager for more new material.
With new material being prepared, the overwhelming philosophy for writing the tracks was to concentrate on the melody, a quality that made Genesis and Pink Floyd stand apart from other progressive rock bands of the 1970s.
Reed experimented with new instruments like saxes, flutes and bagpipes as well as different musical styles, while still staying in touch with the roots of Cyan. Lots of moog solos, low bass pedals, mellotrons, demanding time signatures and heart-rending guitar can be found on the album. Reed had used a drum machine during the Fyreworks project, but rediscovered real drums and bass and began to appreciated what other players could bring to a track. So, he re-recorded all the rhythm tracks with drummer Tim Robinson of Fyreworks, and bassist Pete Hurly (ex-70s band Lone Star) and enlisted the help of some of the guitarists he admired, including Danny Chang, Andy Edwards and Nick Barrett of Pendragon.
F2 Records released the third album by Cyan, The Creeping Vine, in April 1999 to positive reviews and sales.
Trippa and Magenta
In 1999 Reed began a side project with Christina Booth, called Trippa. The collaboration ultimately led to the creation of Magenta. With the overwhelming success of Magenta, Cyan was put to one side.
In March 2012, a special concert called "An Evening With Magenta" included some Cyan tracks, performed by the current live Magenta line up. With the renewed interest in Cyan's material, it was announced that Cyan would perform at the 2012 Summer's End Festival, featuring the Magenta live members Rob Reed, Chris Fry, Dan Nelson and Steve Roberts, along with Steffan Rhys Williams on lead vocals.