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CYAN

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Cyan picture
Cyan biography
Seems Rob Reed has some fascination with colors, first it was CYAN and now his most popular project is MAGENTA, but they have something more in common, a great musical level.

CYAN was formed in 1984 by Rob Reed, who in short time released a demon highly influenced by Mike Oldfield and It Bites, mage a tour but soon after he left the project behind.

In 1991 he receives a letter from a French fan who had received the demo from Nick Barrett and encourages him to embrace the project again, he records again his demo songs with some new material and releases the CYAN debut called "For King and Country" performing all the instruments and vocals, the final release has also a clear Genesis influence.

In 1994 while working with EZRA in the release of their album "Shapes", he meets Nigel Voyle and invites him to help him with one song, but impressed with his voice, Rob leaves all the lead vocals to Nigel and the backing vocals to a new and unknown female vocalist called Christina Murphy, with whom he started a long musical adventure that would lead to MAGENTA in the XXst Century.

CYAN's second album "Pictures from the Other Side" is released in 1994 with Nigel, Christina and some guests, including an Opera singer called Ann Morgan. This second release is closer to what we expect from a Neo Prog band, clear GENESIS, Fish's MAEILLION and ARENA influence, even when with an exquisite unique sound.

Soon the band splits again and that's the story since then, with meetings, new albums and some periods of inactivity due to Rob's involvement with other bands and projects.

Up to the date, the band has released 5 albums and the last one "The Creeping Vine" with Nick Barrett.

Very good band and worth for those who like well thought and elaborate Neo Prog.

Iván Melgar Morey

Cyan official website

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CautionCaution
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Cyan : Mama, Papa / Under One Flag [Vinyl]Cyan : Mama, Papa / Under One Flag [Vinyl]
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CYAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CYAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.40 | 41 ratings
For King And Country
1993
3.32 | 38 ratings
Pictures From The Other Side
1994
3.37 | 40 ratings
The Creeping Vine
1999

CYAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CYAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CYAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 6 ratings
Remastered
1997
2.99 | 19 ratings
Echoes
1999

CYAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

CYAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 For King And Country by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.40 | 41 ratings

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For King And Country
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars, really. I finally found Cyanīs first CD after a long time looking for it. I was quite surprised by its qualities, specially considering it was Robert Reedīs first release and he was playing and singing everything. So donīt expect the excellent symphonic sounds of Magenta or Christina Boothīs vocals. This is a work based mostly on a demo tape he recorded back in 1984. With that fact in mind, I must say For King And Country does remind me a lot of that period of time: the timbres of his synthesizers, specially. As Robert Reed is the sole player and singer here I must admit he does a fine job. Ok, he is not the best of singers and the electronic drums are annoying sometimes, but thatīs just the only let downs on the entire CD. And his work on the guitar and, specially, on the keyboards is nothing short of brilliance.

If you want a comparison, For King And Country harks back to Pendragonīs The Jewel and Kowtow period (yes, lots of mid-70īs Genesis-like synth sounds). Even his vocals here are reminiscent of Nick Barrett. Better still, the synth sounds are as majestic and creative as Clive Nolanīs. And we should never forget to mention his excellent songwriting: the guy was already doing a fine job at this department. Although not a masterpiece and with not real highlights, the CD flows evenly with good tunes all the way, some instrumentals, some with vocals, but all good ones. Sometimes, like in Nightflight, the music gives hints of what he would be doing in his future band Magenta.

All in all a very consistent album that will please anyone who enjoys 80īs neo prog. It was a nice surprise, I still think that Cyan reached its peak with the excellent The Creeping Vine, but this debut was a worthy and promising start that, fortunately, was fulfilled on Reedīs future works.

 Pictures From The Other Side by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.32 | 38 ratings

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Pictures From The Other Side
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Encouraged by the positive feedback regarding Cyan's debut, Rob Reed decided to move on with a second album.He was lucky enough to meet singer Nigel Voyle, formerly of the 80's act Just Good Friends and a candidate to replace Fish on Marillion, and pass him the lead vocal duties of the upcoming ''Pictures from the other side'' album.Moreover Reed introduced to the public Christina Booth on backing vocals (named Christina Murphy at the time), the future frontwoman of Magenta, and collaborated with Ezra's guitarist Andy Edwards in a couple of tracks.Reed was always a great composer and, with so much load of his shoulders, he wrote the material of the new album in just three months, eventually released a year after Cyan's debut, again on the SI label.

Another very solid release of British Neo Prog, recalling the works of PENDRAGON, LANDMARQ and SHADOWLAND, is the result of Reed's efforts.The new singer has a very good, clear and theatrical voice, definitely an improvement over Reed's questionable ability to sing, while Booth's angelic voice is somewhat hidden by her limited role on background voices.Musically the album consists of eight, mostly long compositions (two of them exceed the 12-min. mark), filled with lyrical pomposity, melodic textures and symphonic leanings, although some slight poppy flavors are also present in the shorter tracks.Heavy use of synthesizers with both dreamy and more upfront deliveries along with some lovely guitar lines characterize the song structures, moving from melancholic, laid-back soundscapes to cheerful choruses and from dramatic vocal moments to bombastic, orchestral moves.There is plenty of room for extended instrumental themes, usually in a typical 80's symphonic mode, and the balance between accesible and more demanding parts is well kept throughout the release.A few stand-out tracks are present as well, like the pompous and melodramatic ''Solitary angel'', the impressive ''All around the world'', featuring Ann Morgan's operatic vocals and standing somewhere between CAMEL and PINK FLOYD, and the pretty great 14-min. opus ''Nosferatu'' with its grandiose atmosphere, reminiscent of ARENA.

I can tell you one thing: It is very sad to see Reed, one of most prolific composers of modern British Prog, remaining so under-the-radar during the 90's.His works with Cyan are pretty great, as this album is.An emblimatic sound of Neo/Symphonic Prog awaits all listeners eager to purchase this release.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 The Creeping Vine by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 40 ratings

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The Creeping Vine
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Cyan's third and final album is presented in the sunny and (to my ears) rather disposable style of neo-prog practiced by the likes of Shadowland and Landmarq, and presents what you could probably see as a less spooky version of the preceding Pictures From the Other Side. (There's even another guest appearance from Nick Barrett of Pendragon!) It was shortly after this that main man Rob Reed would put the Cyan project to bed in favour of Magenta, and so fans of that band may be interested in this album for historical reasons; otherwise, I'd say this is only worth it if you were particularly taken with Pictures From the Other Side.
 Pictures From The Other Side by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.32 | 38 ratings

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Pictures From The Other Side
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second Cyan album doesn't quite manage to hit the high standards of the previous one; the compositions aren't quite as interesting (possibly due to not having been worked on over the course of the a decade like the songs on the first album!) and the production isn't quite as good - which possibly explains why Rob Reed chose to remaster and remix this material when it was put out on the Cyan compilations in 1997 and 1999. To be honest, it's more interesting for being Reed's first collaboration with Christina Murphy, who would go on to become the lead vocalist of Magenta, than it is for the actual music here, which is fairly middle-of-the-road and cliched neo-prog.
 For King And Country by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.40 | 41 ratings

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For King And Country
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rob Reed proves himself a capable multi-instrumentalist on the debut album by Cyan, which has a neo-prog sound reminiscent both of classic bands in the genre - a bit of Jadis, a smattering of The Lens, and a healthy dose of Jewel-era Pendragon - as well as those artists who had a key influence on the formative years of the neo-prog movement. (In particular, some passages of the album remind me of a significantly more keyboard-focused version of Steve Hackett's sound, circa Spectral Mornings or Defector). Not surprising, when you consider a lot of the material on here is rerecorded from a demo tape originally put out in 1984!

Reed isn't quite equally capable on all instruments - his drumming is acceptable but not special, whilst his vocals really aren't great and probably constitute the greatest weakness in this release, with the vocal passages inevitably letting the album down. That said, he's an adept enough guitarist to slip in some nice solos here and there and his keyboard playing on the album is excellent; usually, it is the keyboards that save the instrumental passages. It took a few listens for this one to win me over but on the whole I think it's a decent debut, though ultimately not a top tier release even in the context of Reed's own discography, let alone the wider prog scene. Recommended for hardcore fans of both the early 80s neo-prog scene and of Magenta, who of course are in many respects the successor band to Cyan.

 Echoes by CYAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
2.99 | 19 ratings

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Echoes
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Echoes of the past

After the release of three studio albums, Cyan gave us this compilation album consisting of remastered tracks from the first two albums plus three previously unreleased tracks. In fact, the present album was the second Cyan compilation album, the first one - simply called Remastered - being released in 1997 and consisted solely of remastered tracks from the two first albums. Echoes brings together the remaining tracks from those two albums that didn't make it onto Remastered. For anyone who already owns the original studio albums, Echoes thus offers very little new.

Released straight after The Creeping Vine, Echoes features a cover art based on the one for that album with the green "bubbles" here being filled with images of earlier cover art. The three previously unreleased songs are the opener named after the band as well as the two last tracks, Charm The Snake and Jimmy The Tank. The first of these three has something of a Camel-vibe and is wholly pleasant even if hardly very impressive. The last two are from the The Creeping Vine sessions and sticks out from the rest. They are worth a listen, but not up to par with the material that made it onto that very good album. Charm The Snake is a good song that reminds of Gabriel-era Genesis with some very appealing touches of flute. Jimmy The Tank is a jazzier affair with a rather predictable chorus.

By its very nature, Echoes is a release for fans only as it offers very little new to those who already knows the band's output. For those who don't, it is strongly recommended to begin with the band's regular studio albums, preferably in backward chronological order. If you would still want more after that, then you should go for the present release.

After the release of this compilation album, Reed would go on to form Magenta (also named after a colour) and following the widespread popularity of that project, Cyan faded away making Echoes their final release to date. Might Cyan perhaps be resurrected one day? One can only speculate.

 The Creeping Vine by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.37 | 40 ratings

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The Creeping Vine
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Creeping triumph

The Creeping Vine is, in my opinion, the album that stands out among the three Cyan studio albums as the best one by far. While he had already proven that he is a competent songwriter, keyboard player, guitarist and vocalist, this third album was where Rob Reed finally found his own musical expression. This album is a much more personal and unique statement than the previous two Cyan albums that were both good but also a bit anonymous. These songs are memorable and charming and lead vocalist Nigel Voyle sounds a lot more assertive here than he did on 1994's Pictures From The Other Side. On that earlier album he often sounded as if his heart was not fully in it, but here he is very different. Another distinguishing feature of The Creeping Vine is that Reed is no longer playing all of the instruments himself. There is for the first time a fulltime drummer as well as a bass player. This brings with it a band feeling that was missing on earlier releases. In addition, Reed also brings in some guests including Nick Barrett of Pendragon on guitar.

Reed is exploring various different moods and styles on this album. The framework is Symphonic Prog, but there are elements of Folk and Jazz and more inside. Also the topics vary widely; the confessions of a naughty priest in The Original Sin, Nordic mythology in Valhalla and good old-fashioned romance in the out-and-out Prog Folk of Gwenan just to give three examples. The incredible thing is that he manages - despite the many styles involved - to tie it all together into an organic unit that is strongly appealing to this reviewer. Mike Oldfield is a standing influence on Reed and during the folky/Celtic moments, the sound here reminds me of that of the very good Prog Folk band The Morrigan whose leader and guitarist Colin Masson is also strongly influenced by Oldfield's work.

The three first tracks are among the better ones for sure, but the rest of the album does not disappoint. I Will Show You Life is probably the least good song on The Creeping Vine. The "Rap"-section in this song might perhaps put some Prog fans off, but it is actually not that bad. The nearly ten minute track Goodbye World shows a strong influence of classic Genesis with lots of very good Tony Banks-like keyboard work. The closing title track is another long one. This one is more rhythmic and displays some almost New-Age/World- Music vibes and an anthemic chorus that forms a great culmination of the album before fading out to some "nature sounds".

Overall I would say that The Creeping Vine is an original and generally superb disc. This is definitely the place to begin with Cyan. Reed would go on to form Magenta and the present album remains the last Cyan album to date (and probably ever?)

Highly recommended!

 Pictures From The Other Side by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.32 | 38 ratings

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Pictures From The Other Side
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The other side of Rob Reed?

From the formation in 1984 up until the release of the debut album in 1993, Cyan was a one- man band consisting of multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed who did everything himself from vocals to keyboards to guitars, etc. Appearing one year after the official debut, this second album was therefore the first to feature a slightly extended cast. However, just as on For King And Country Reed is still playing most of the instruments himself here. Given this fact the result is surprisingly strong, but I still feel that the songs could have benefitted from having a proper band.

Lead vocal duties on the other hand are handed over to Nigel Voyle who does a fine job even if he often sounds like a session vocalist. Pictures From The Other Side is also noteworthy for being the first Cyan album to feature Christina Murphy (now known as Christina Booth) who would later on take a much larger part in another of Reed's "colourful" musical projects - Magenta. In addition to Voyle and Murphy, a couple of guests are also featured here.

The music found on the present album is in general more dramatic and theatrical compared to that of the debut. This is especially apparent on the epic closer Nosferatu (Requiem For A Vampire) which reminds in style of Arena's Opera Fanatica from their Pepper's Ghost album. This track has a harder edge than the rest of the songs on Pictures From The Other Side. The classic Symphonic Prog sound is not abandoned, however. There are some nice Camel-like flute parts, some tasteful acoustic guitar licks and lots of Mike Oldfield-like lead guitar. In some songs one can also note some slight folky touches. I occasionally get the feeling that Reed wasn't entirely sure about exactly what direction he wanted to go in, but he still manages to produce a reasonably consistent and overall enjoyable album.

As far as I am concerned, Pictures From The Other Side is every bit as gratifying as For King And Country if not more so. While none of these albums are essential by any means, both of them are worthy additions to any Prog collection.

 For King And Country by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.40 | 41 ratings

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For King And Country
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Not too colourful, perhaps

Cyan was formed in 1984 as a one-man band by multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed (also the brain behind another band named after a colour - Magenta). The initial active period of the band did not last for long however, the project was shelved after the recording of a demo and before any official album had been released. But this was not the end of the band as it was resurrected in the early 90's after Reed had received encouragement from fans including one Nick Barrett of Pendragon-fame (who would also guest on a later Cyan album). The present album was Cyan's official debut release and consisted of re-recorded versions of songs that originally appeared on the demo from the 80's plus some new songs. The style is somewhere in between classic Symphonic Prog of the 70's and the Neo-Prog scene of the 80's; Camel and Pendragon often spring to mind while listening to For King And Country.

Keeping in mind that Reed is doing everything by himself here including guitars, keyboards and lead vocals, this is really impressive. There is no doubt about his considerable talents which is proven by this and also several future releases (both under the Cyan moniker and under other names). I believe that Reed is primarily a keyboard player, and there is an emphasis on the keyboards in the sound of Cyan, but his vocal and guitar skills are clearly more than adequate (guitar sound often remind of that of Mike Oldfield). Though, while a thoroughly enjoyable listen, there is very little that really stands out as such here for me. Indeed, it is often hard to distinguish between the eight tracks on For King And Country - they are all of them good songs, but nothing here is really excellent or truly memorable. The tone is rather mellow and melancholic throughout, yet melodic.

It is interesting to speculate about what could have happened if this album had been released in the mid 80's instead of in the early 90's - would Cyan then have been a more recognized band? It is very hard for a one-man band to make it, and indeed, for the next album, Pictures From The Other Side, Reed did form more of a real band around himself. This was the right move to make, if you ask me. Regardless, we should be happy about the fact that Reed didn't abandon music after the initial demise of Cyan and came back to give us this and further albums.

While by no means truly original or very distinctive, this is certainly a worthwhile and thoroughly pleasant listen.

 Pictures From The Other Side by CYAN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.32 | 38 ratings

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Pictures From The Other Side
Cyan Neo-Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars It sounds very nice, "Reed - almost everything, except...". But in The Guardian it's almost impossible to believe that this finishing drum sound at about 7:55 (something like that) is not drum machine, this is just too unreal and fast to be living organism called human. Even I have to admit that sometimes it sounds good, I don't like (if my suspicion is correct). Never mind, from what I saw, it'll probably be the worse choice, but music is good at all. I heard few albums and amongst them this one, but I've decided to do review right after listening this one. No waiting, no hesitating, just direct review, other failed to attract my attention, or failed to do it so much. I understand that there's something like Cyan's trademark sound, which I cannot describe, but I recognize it when I hear it. Of course, only place where I found it so far was on Cyan's CD's, but still. This one is better, it's very, very calm neo prog (don't expect Arena, not even Pendragon, maybe this can be compared to Acoustically Challenged - unplugged CD) with prominent Nigel Voyle's vocal.

4(-), dear proggers and progsters, maybe better after more listening. It's quite promising and I edit reviews quite often.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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