Category6-string, Artist Profile, Signature Artist
About This Project
A renowned guitarist, songwriter, composer and international touring artist, Paul Masvidal is best known as co-founder and frontman of Cynic, the critically acclaimed progressive rock group with a fanatically devoted following.
Masvidal’s professional career began in 1991 when he and Cynic drummer Sean Reinert were recruited by Death’s Chuck Schuldiner to record that band’s landmark death-metal album, Human. Two years later saw the release of Cynic’s self-assured debut – Focus. Heralded by critics and fans alike as a work of dizzying brilliance, Focus wove elements of metal, progressive rock and jazz fusion into a bold new sound that challenged listeners as it defied genre restrictions.
The group reunited in 2008 after a 13-year break to record Traced In Air, their comeback opus. In his review, New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff wrote that Cynic “should be understood not so much alongside any metal bands but along with the radical harmonic progressives in the last 45 years of pop and jazz: composers like Milton Nascimento, the Beach Boys or Pat Metheny.”
During the band’s hiatus, Masvidal founded Æon Spoke, whose ethereal indie rock was heralded as “beautiful, exquisite [and] destined for greatness” by Janice Long, BBC Radio. In 2004, the band received airplay on BBC Radio 2 and XFM for the single “Silence,” leading to a week of London gigs and radio appearances. The following year, the track “Emmanuel” appeared in the indie breakout film, What the Bleep Do We Know!?. Æon Spoke songs have also appeared on the Warner Bros. television series Smallville, One Tree Hill and in the motion picture Cry Wolf. Their self-titled debut LP came out in 2007 on SPV Records.
Masvidal also writes and performs music for television and motion pictures through Still Motion Music, the Hollywood-based composer collective he co-founded. He wrote the main title for the Emmy nominated NBC teen series Operation Junkyard and has scored series for H2, National Geographic, Bravo, ABC and PBS. Paul also worked as a session guitarist for Carsey Werner sitcoms That ’70s Show and 3rd Rock from the Sun. In 2014, Masvidal produced and played guitar on actor Jim Carrey’s spiritually reflective children’s book and accompanying soundtrack, How Roland Rolls.
Since Traced In Air, Cynic has released two conceptual EPs: Re-Traced (2010) and Carbon-Based Anatomy (2011). Pitchfork music critic Hank Shteamer raved in his review of Carbon-Based Anatomy: “The title track is a perfectly paced stunner…Cynic sounds fully liberated, not just from their metal past but from any aesthetic concern other than assembling a great song.” Cynic’s third full-length album, Kindly Bent to Free Us, released in 2014, was hailed by PROG Magazine as “an album that transcends all the limitations of genre and era… There are few albums which can claim such a remarkable hold.” The album rose to No. 4 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart in Feb. 2014 and was No. 1 on CMJ’s Loud Rock Chart the following month.
In 2015, Masvidal ventured into the performing-arts world with masked duo Onward with Love (OwL), a musical collaboration with acclaimed singer-songwriter Amy Correia. The pair’s singular points of view make for an intriguing synthesis of Eastern-influenced philosophy, symbolist poetry, American blues, jazz and prog rock. OwL is currently performing in concert venues, hospices and art galleries around greater Los Angeles and will tour with Cynic throughout Europe in Fall 2015.
Masvidal has also lent his name to a line of signature instruments produced by Sweden’s award winning .strandberg* Guitars, has his own chorus pedal through Protone Pedalsand an endorsement contract with EMG Pickups and Cleartone strings. He is currently developing custom amp sounds for Positive Grid‘s revolutionary BIAS application for iPad. Masvidal is performing master classes at various music academies and music stores, teaching guitar techniques, songwriting and the creative process, along with promoting his signature guitar.