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Robert Reed - Sanctuary II CD (album) cover


Robert Reed

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5 stars Personally, despite some references, this begins to not be Mike Oldfield, but the work of a worthy follower.

What we have here is the very talented multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Robert Reed, (Magenta, Kompendium, Kiama) with its continuation to "Sanctuary" purely Oldfield 2014. Produced, mixed and directed by Rob, and this time joined the original production equipment technician "Tubular Bells", Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth, who have helped the album a cleaner sound. Sanctuary II (2016) has the rare peculiarity of sounding like an album of Oldfield without it easy to find the exact references. The technique of striking melodic progress is there, the risky combination of instruments of all kinds also still in force, and especially the singing voice still carries that clean and expressive electric guitar ... but still sounding Oldfield, we do not know very well what melody referenced, and that can be a great virtue for those who want to see Reed get away from the canon and tinkering on your own. Making a complicated exercise in imagination, perhaps we could understand Sanctuary II as an album Oldfield would have composed if his instrumental epic stage had not been completed.

Reed Sanctuary II gives an air sometimes more rock, sometimes more folk than the first album. Or what is the same, the ends are accentuated. In progressive rock slope it contributes the notable presence of Simon Phillips, essential Oldfield ochentero battery. While it is not yours an instrument that can be left an imprint too personal, their interventions are timely and refreshing. On the other hand, Robert Reed has had another collaborator Oldfield, Les Penning, flutist category here contributes to several playful passages

And let's not forget the excellent vocal solos Angharad Brinn that leads to soft guitars. And the chorus Synergy Vocals always present surround us.

And all this achieved, which is in my opinion, that while "Sanctuary" was a formidable album, "Santuary II" as a sublime album. With what we were is the commitment of Robert Reed to fulfill the desire of the old Mike: someone to take over and continue composing instrumental long in which the listener can dive. It has taken years anyone to carry to term this idea so explicitly, and we can only hope that in the future and more than likely Sanctuary III (apart from the probable recording of the live performance by the end of 2016), Robert Reed be able to continue delighting without being in the shadow of the giant. Gradually it is achieving.

Report this review (#1582897)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Welsh musician, producer and composer Robert Reed is mostly known for this association with female fronted proggers Magenta (as well as the large-scale if somewhat forgotten Kompendium project from 2012 that boasted the contributions of Steve Hackett, Nick Beggs and Mel Collins amongst others), but he also issues solo releases, currently focusing on a set of primarily instrumental `Sanctuary' works, the second release under that banner we find here arriving two years after the striking 2014 debut. The first album was frequently influenced by Mike Oldfield's classic era of works (completely by Reed's own admissions, though!), and the artist again takes a multi-instrument approach for another grand two-part vinyl length suite of symphonic passages filtered with Celtic and folk flavours, alternating acoustic/electric sections and chanted world elements, all meticulously weaving together with a careful sense of purpose and flow.

In addition to embracing Mike Oldfield's approach (as well as utilizing drum and recorder contributions from former Oldfield collaborators Simon Phillips and Les Penning), there's a rich and wide variety of influences peppered throughout `Sanctuary II' that should be pointed out, so that this project is not merely dismissed as simply some hero-worshipping remake. Looking at some of the highlight moments, the welcoming magical keyboard fanfare alongside crashing percussion that opens the album almost instantly reminds of the more uplifting moments of Yes and in particular Rick Wakeman's grandiose earlier solo works. Warm hand claps and Reed's reaching Flower Kings and dramatic David Gilmour-like guitar strains weave between female- chorus worldly chanting vocals, twinkling pretty chimes and Angharad Brinn's sighing ethereal voice.

There's plenty of soothing and reflective classical elegance and spiralling folk arrangements with flamenco-like ravishing guitar runs, whimsical recorder, fancy accordion and prancing madrigal flute-lifted interludes, with a cool fusion of heavier guitar bite and Simon Phillips' pounding drumming surprisingly emerging in a few brief moments. A spirited folk whimsy dances through Steve Hackett-flavoured ruminative acoustic strums, and overall throughout the two-part set there's still plenty of epic guitar climaxes and joyous synth trills that instantly remind of Reed's own Magenta band. All of these elements together prove to be infectious on multiple repeated listens, and it's hard not to be charmed and won over by this frequently uplifting and joyous piece of music.

While the appearing themes are perhaps not quite as memorable as those found on the first album, and the large increase in constant vocals (especially in the first half) perhaps challenges claims that this is an `instrumental' project, `Sanctuary II' is hardly a poor effort by any means, and one that improves immensely once the instrumental melodies settle in. Certainly those who loved the first album will find plenty to enjoy here, and it's a victory for lovers of varied, colourful and lavish symphonic music with a worldly flavour, another confident work of great inspiration exquisitely delivered by Mr Reed and his musical friends.

Four stars.

Report this review (#1670440)
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2016 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Between 1991 and 2006 I was fortunate enough to run Feedback fanzine in the UK, and my constant cry in the early days was "I need artwork!". In 1993 I decided that one way to provide this would be by cutting out (literally) photos of album covers sent to me on press releases, and make a collage. One of the albums reviewed in that particular issue, and included on the cover, was Cyan's ' For King And Country'. That 1993 debut release featured a young Robert Reed who provided everything. After a few more Cyan albums, and a dalliance with fellow Welshmen Ezra he has of course made his name with Magenta. But, he is still a true multi-instrumentalist, and in 2014 released 'Sanctuary', following it up with the inventively titled 'Sanctuary II' in 2016. The version I have here is the double CD, which features the two songs that make up 'Sanctuary II' on the first, that album remixed by Tom Newman (yes, the Tom Newman who produced 'Tubular Bells') plus some additional songs. There is also a version available with a DVD as well.

Robert doesn't hide his love of Oldfield, especially considering he has Simon Phillips on drums and Leslie Penning on recorder, both firmly associated with that artist, and he does actually list tubular bells among the instruments he himself provides. But, although this is heavily influenced by Oldfield and his style (especially when he brings in the distorted guitars), this is still Robert producing the music that he wants to, writing the songs and performing them in a certain manner. There are many bands out there who are heavily inspired by Genesis, King Crimson, IQ etc., but there are few who have truly managed to capture the style of Oldfield and turn into something as dramatic and interesting as Robert has with this album. I just think it's wonderful, and an album I really enjoy playing as it is so vibrant and exciting.

Report this review (#1868201)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2018 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK composer and musician Robert REED have been around the block a few times, and is well known for bands such as Magenta, Kompendium, Cyan, Chimpan A and others. For the past few years he's also been an active solo artist where he is already clozing in fast on a dozen albums. "Sanctuary II" is his second solo album, and was released through his own label Tigermoth Productions in 2016.

If there are any packages left of the special edition of "Sanctuary II" with bonus CD and DVD, that is the edition to go for here. With more than 3 hours of material that is a good deal no matter how you look at it. This is a case of the bonus material being of the same or similar quality as the main album, which probably indicates that Robert Reed is quite the perfectionist. Otherwise, this album in general is one that have Mike Oldfield fans written all over it in terms of a main target audience. Other than that, those who tends to enjoy music where folk music and rock music meet inside a progressive rock general context of the kind that veers towards atmospheric laden and ambient landscapes should find this album to be a rewarding experience.

Report this review (#1941450)
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2018 | Review Permalink

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