As 2020 comes to a close, it has wrought a period of reflection on what has been a tumultuous year for all of us. For Cynic mastermind Paul Masvidal, the year has been especially difficult as the guitarist and vocalist suffered the deaths of two longtime bandmates, drummer Sean Reinert and bassist Sean Malone. The deeply spiritual Masvidal detailed his processing of grief in a social media post, which also relayed the news that a new Cynic album will arrive in 2021.
“Having lived through the loss of my two Cynic lifelong musical bandmates/friends in 2020, I’ve become intimate with the energy of grief. One thing in particular is experientially clear to me now: We are all living in a kaleidoscopic process of change. A constant flow,” the Cynic leader began.
“Sometimes we shift a little, and blue is dominant, we shift again and pink is dominant,” he explained, “Our identities are like that. There is no free standing self. We are a flow of awareness that rests on the body. We are awareness itself.”
Reinert, who played on each of Cynic’s three full length albums prior to his departure from the band in 2015, died unexpectedly on Jan. 24. The year was bookended by further tragedy as bassist Malone, who also appeared on the band’s trio of studio records, died on Dec. 9 and was an active member of the band up until his passing. Reinert was just 48 years old and Malone only 50.
“When I first heard the news about Malone’s death earlier this month, I went from being actively engaged in a creative process to feeling like I was suddenly up to my neck in quicksand,” Masvidal lamented, noting “I was unable to play my guitar for weeks, and found myself expending whatever energy I had cleaning and organizing my home. Grief is the most powerful experience; it wipes everything else away.”
The prog musician expressed his gratitude for the outpouring of support and comfort received from fans around the world. “I’m reminded through your messages, that we’re all in this together and that the Cynic family has endured through a lifetime of kaleidoscopic change,” he said before turning his attention toward two big projects for next year. “A new record will see the light of day in the new year,” Masvidal confirmed, “along with a plan to organize a virtual musical memorial/celebration of Malone and Reinert.”
In closing, he wrote, “I know this has been a turbulent year for everyone. Loving and kind New Years wishes to you all. May you have peace of mind, freedom from fear, may you have everything you need; love, shelter, food, and good health.”
Cynic’s last full length album, Kindly Bent to Free Us, was released in 2014 and followed up by the 2018 standalone single, “Humanoid.”