After Peter Baumann had left Tangerine Dream, Edgar Froese and Chris Franke were joined by Steve Jolliffe and Klaus Krüger, two musicians Edgar Froese knew since the sixties. This quartet recorded TD's most controversial album Cyclone, as Steve Jolliffe's vocals broke from the otherwise pure instrumental music of TD. Although Jolliffe was also a skilled wind instrumentalist, most TD fans disliked this kind of music -- as did Edgar Froese himself.
Edgar Froese: "After Phaedra we took off. We only had one record which was more or less unsuccessful, although not sales-wise -- just what we put on record. I couldn't identify myself with that record. [...] We booked the studio for January two years ago [...] and met up with an English guy, Steve Jolliffe, and a German drummer, Klaus Krüger. But then we ran into a tremendous trouble because everybody in the band wanted to do different melodies and things. And when we got a good track down, everybody wanted to do different things over the top of it. At last we decided Steve could sing -- the last way out. So he sang, and it was so terrible! [...] A few parts I like, but since the end of March '78 I haven't listened to that record anymore, and I never will." (Interview with Neumusik, January 1980)
After the album release and the following European tour Steve Jolliffe again left the group, and Tangerine Dream did not again use vocals on their records until 1987 (with the only exception of the spoken Russian words on Kiew Mission in 1981).
In an interview with Jeff Filbert in 1994 Steve Jolliffe remembers about Cyclone: "It was conceived totally from scratch in a 48-track recording studio that was booked 24 hours a day for a month. We all went in together at first, trying lots of ideas and improvising, but we had some difficulty focusing our musical vision collectively. At that point I went in and did Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender. I did most of the tracks on it except for the bass and drum parts, which were performed by Chris and Klaus. After that, things seemed to go much smoother and our ideas jelled better. On the other two pieces [...] everyone contributed equally. For Madrigal Meridian, Chris worked out some nice bass and sequencer patterns, and we just sort of began jamming over the top of that. The drums were put on last, and I remember that Klaus had some minor problems trying to maintain that exact drum pattern repeatedly. But he did some great playing, with some really nice things in the quieter sections of the piece. I wrote all the lyrics on the album, although some of them were improvised, especially on Bent Cold Sidewalk. 'I die to fight!' just kind of came out, as did the titles of the pieces themselves. However, the spoken vocoder part the the beginning was not written by me, but was something we found and thought would be appropriate to the album."
Steve Jolliffe about Bent Cold Sidewalk: "What I was trying to say [...] was how the music was going to take you on a journey and guide you into parts of your mind that you wouldn't necessarily be able to get to. The music was to be your transport, as in 'a rush of sound is heard inside, creating dreams that pass you by.' That whole section, 'Bent cold sidewalk, open the gate, I may be late but I can no longer wait,' had to do with my re-involvement with Tangerine Dream, and with Edgar especially. 'Playing the god to fix your gaze, I'm holding you firm on another day,' has to do with that creative power -- wherever it comes from -- and the power that it has on people to hold their attention."
And about Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender: "The opening is about the spirit's individual search or quest -- running, searching, never looking back. Whereas Bent Cold Sidewalk has a line about standing still ('You're walking forward as you look behind'), the message [...] is the freedom of the human spirit running headlong into whatever adventure awaits it, and the exhilaration and vitality that one feels as a result -- life on the edge, so to speak. 'Treading lightly colored stones, often losing sight of goals', these are the stumbling blocks that could distract or stop the runner from moving on, to embrace patterns or ruts and never move forward. The patterns are old and dead -- you've got to leave them and move on, keep running."
Finally, about the album: "We all had a go at the mixing. We used two 24-track recording machines synced together to make the needed 48 tracks. I remember at one point we all became ill, one after another, being stuck in the studio all the time without proper ventilation. Edgar would be mixing and get sick, and while he was laid up I'd try mixing. Then I would be laid up, and Chris would try mixing. This process went on for some time. We filled up all of those 48 tracks. There were things going on in all of them, so everytime we would mix, it would be like a new album. Cyclone was the result of several different mixes, or at least the best part of them. We could have made three albums out of those sessions. I'd love to go back and remix it with some of the tracks that we didn't use. There were flute quartets on some sections, and some other things as well -- all that was lost."
In 1984 the album was released on CD for the first time as part of a series by Virgin. With the exception of Exit, all releases of this series had a similar cover design, using only part of the original artwork in a monochrome border that featured the band and album title.
In 1995 Virgin re-released the album on CD in the so-called "Definitive Edition" series, featuring the original front cover artwork, but like most of the other releases of this series, it contains some little errors: The first track is misspelled Bent Cold Side Walk on the CD body, and drummer Klaus Krüger's name does not appear in the booklet credits and on the backside insert at all.
In the same year, like Force Majeure, the album was re-released in the USA on CD with a completely different artwork.
In 2009 the album was re-released in Japan with a cardboard sleeve featuring the exact replica of the original LP sleeve.