New Artist Spotlight: Fans Will Be ‘Agape’ at The Color of Cyan’s Rock/Ambient Fusion [Video]
Apparently at one time, Chicago-based group The Color of Cyan were a more vox-forward outfit, but the seem to have deigned to wipe past work from memory. Now the focus is on two things: pitch-perfect guitars and beautiful ambient production work. The result is their, for all intents and purposes, debut album, Agape, and with the level of mastery displayed on this LP, it’s hard to imagine they were doing anything else.
Since the Google slate has been wiped of any previous work, it’s hard to speculate what The Color of Cyan sounded like prior to 2020 with with Agape absolutely bursting with emotive and masterful guitar work, soaring atmospherics and analog drums, there’s plenty to look at and appreciate in this one album. The band say that the switch to voxless work was inspired by COVID, both from a practical and philosophical standpoint. The album was recorded by the various quarantining band members in Chicago, Mexico City and Puerto Rico, the band had much the same plight of working remotely as other musical artists. They of course could have recorded remote vocals as well, but it seems the music spoke for itself in this case, and so they just went with it.
Drawing on shoegaze, post rock and cinematic ambient electronica, The Color of Cyan focused on the atmospherics with Agape and seemed, even while physically separated, to find an emotional path to connect them to each other and the world at large. This is not a cheeky, hipstery Ratatat-style guitar/electro album. The guitars are largely metal based, especially in terms of the skill level of Eduardo Cintron, who also did most of the production. The composition, however, is much more wall of sound-inspired, so the overall effect of the analog work sounds more shoegazey, especially when the ambient electronic work is applied. Think a hearty balance between early and late era Brian Futter from Catherine Wheel when it comes to guitars.
With those heavy guitars filling up the staff almost completely, the composition of most tracks on Agape was also clearly plotted in a similar way to a classical score. It was a smart move, as this opens up space for the equally masterful and surprisingly jazzy drum work of Henry Cole, the heavy-handed bass of Jorge Santana and the goosebump-inducing strings of Rene Torres.
Those Torres strings add to the classical/post rock feel of tracks like “Summer Days,” lead single “The Day We Met” and the epic, eight-minute title track, as does all the electronic sound design. This is one of the main ways The Color of Cyan will appeal to EDM fans, as they’re clearly all about creating a vibe. Guitar music can often be only about the guitars, but here in Agape, they’re just as much about creating the emotionally charged atmosphere as the beats, the lush strings and the actual electronic atmospherics. The result is a grand, theatrical experience that’s the sonic equivalent to the northern lights: breathtaking, evocative, constant and ever-changing.
That constant yet ever-changing feeling of Agape seems to be both what inspired the members of The Color of Cyan and what they want audiences to take away from it. The guitars, atmospherics, grounding beats and soaring melodies are all just to connote what many of us realized during these last two years, summed up best by the band themselves:
Agape is our journey through this world. Even though the moments are unique for each one of us, we are all connected by those feelings
Agape is out now and can be steamed on Spotify or purchased on Bandcamp. Check out more videos, including the recently released “Inception” music video and a recording session with Cintron on The Color of Cyan’s YouTube Channel.