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ROBERT REED

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Robert Reed biography
Born in Ferndale, Wales, UK in 1968

Robert Reed needs little introduction, a talented multi-instrumentalist that has been creating delightful prog music since his early days with CYAN as well as the THE FYREWORKS, then forming the brilliant and still strong MAGENTA, as well as the recent KOMPENDIUM project featuring a busload of prog superstars (HACKETT, HARRISON, DONOCKLEY, DUNNERY, BEGGS, COLLINS, BARRETT, JAKSZYK, MITCHELL among many others).

A thorough multi-instrumentalist on both guitars, bass and a vast variety of keyboards, as well as adept on percussion when needed, REED is also a composer and producer of high repute. So when he considered the solo album option and figuring out that a true solo album is when you do everything yourself, Reed had the challenge of saluting one of his heroes, the mighty and legendary Mike OLDFIELD (also still going strong what with his recent "Man on the Rocks" release). "Sanctuary" is his first solo album and as such, he plays each and every instrument with obvious glee and mastery, fueled by the Tubular Bell inspiration.

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ROBERT REED discography


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ROBERT REED top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 185 ratings
Sanctuary
2014
3.89 | 117 ratings
Sanctuary II
2016
4.01 | 90 ratings
Sanctuary III
2018
3.83 | 29 ratings
Cursus 123 430
2020
4.00 | 18 ratings
The Ringmaster - Part One
2021
3.73 | 13 ratings
The Ringmaster - Part Two
2022

ROBERT REED Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ROBERT REED Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.16 | 19 ratings
Sanctuary Live
2017

ROBERT REED Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ROBERT REED Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.81 | 16 ratings
Willow's Song E.P.
2014
4.50 | 8 ratings
Marimba E.P. (excerpt from Santuary II)
2016
3.27 | 11 ratings
Variations on Themes by David Bedford
2017
4.00 | 4 ratings
Theme From Doctor Who
2018
5.00 | 2 ratings
Tubular Bells - A Minor Tune (with Les Penning and Tom Newman)
2020
3.43 | 7 ratings
Cursus: A Symphonic Poem
2020
4.67 | 3 ratings
Chi Mai
2020
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Defeated Army E.P.
2021

ROBERT REED Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Ringmaster - Part Two by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.73 | 13 ratings

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The Ringmaster - Part Two
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

3 stars As much as the Part One was primely devoted to the musical universe of Mike Oldfield in style and sound, this Part Two plays the same role, but taking as the object of devotion the enchanted folk pastoralia of Anthony Phillips, mimicking mainly the orchestral-like setting of his first solo album, The Geese And The Ghost.

The album begins with a few spoken words by the narrator, who will come back later, but fortunately ocupying very little space on the record. After that, you have to wait a few minutes for the music to soar and to build momentum, but don't worry, because when it does, it really does. And it's primarily thanks to the electric lead guitar that it does so. Don't misunderstand me, each and every instrument and voice here leave an essential stroke in a production carefully planned and arranged, but it's the guitar the one which fuels the music with enough gas as to take it on air.

Summarizing, this is a really okay album, specially if you enjoy a ride through the forest with elves and celtic nymphs singing melismatic spells, and from time to time, to be lifted in guitar wings to fly... well, yes, with Ant's geese.

 Cursus 123 430 by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 29 ratings

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Cursus 123 430
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I have known Robert for the best part of 30 years, ever since SI Music sent me the Cyan album 'For King and Country' and I have followed his career with great interest since then. Apparently, when he was eight years old, he received a couple of albums for Christmas, including 'Tubular Bells', and while that set his own musical path in many ways, that same year his brother was given Jean Michel Jarre's 'Oxygene', which he soon borrowed and played to death. While working on his lates project he felt he needed a break and to work on something totally different to clean his palate and started thinking about electronic music and what an impact it had on him over the years from Jarre to Vangelis, from Ultravox to Depeche Mode, and from John Carpenter to Tangerine Dream. Feeling inspired, he went out and purchased some analogue synthesisers and this is the result.

Vangelis has undoubtedly been the main inspiration for this album, with some wonderfully layered synths with strong direction, although the more ambiguous and ethereal elements of JMJ have also made their presence felt. This is a type of music I do not play very often these days to be fair, and the first time I played this all the way through I was somewhat uninspired but there is no doubt that this grows on you. Robert has an innate sense of melody, one of the reasons why his bands have been so popular over the years, and here he has used that to create music which has more purpose than many working in this style of music. Add to that his prodigious keyboard skills, and here is an album which I found I enjoyed far more than I initially expected.

It does feel very "space" like, almost as if it is tied in with a science fiction novel and I was not surprised to see that the deluxe version of this contains a detailed novella. For those who enjoy this style of music then this is well worth investigating further.

 The Ringmaster - Part One by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 18 ratings

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The Ringmaster - Part One
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars Have to say that I am a bit divided here. On one side, the listener in me tells me that this is a masterful recording, complete with great compositions, sky-high production values, and the principal thing: every musician involved performs to the outmost perfection, without any excess or shortness. But, on the other side, the critic in me tells me that this is hardly an original piece of music, since it's so overly based on the legacy of Mike Oldfield, and maybe also some drops of Anthony Phillips here and there. Adding on this side of the balance, we have a clear air of Fleetwood Mac's Albatross gracing The Defeated Army, one of the coolest moments of the album, probably my favorite track.

Concluding, if you are not easy to put off with influences that sound so utterly recognizable, you might enjoy quite a bit this excellent album.

 Cursus 123 430 by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 29 ratings

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Cursus 123 430
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars ROBERT REED, ROBERT REED! Known by chance with CYAN, then on MAGENTA, a little with KOMPENDIUM but above all with his covers, his mixes, finally his personal digressions with the "Sanctuary". Robert is a multi- instrumentalist and one of the best keyboard players, owning analog synthesizers like "in the days when we took the time". He has just composed this concept opus with Les PENNING who works as narrator. Album coming out with graphic plates telling the story of these aliens trying to restore the depraved and polluted world we have created; album available as CD, DVD, limited edition.

- Part 1 course: "Erthhynge" where the nod to Jean-Michel JARRE in the line of "Oxygne" then to that of VANGELIS and "Spiral", a velvety atmospheric synth on a story that ends at Stonehenge, a sound that also recalls the soundtrack of "Blade Runner", it starts well. "The Hawk and the Harbinger of Dawn" and the dark interlude, on a step, a fatal ode in the middle of the church and "Stoneborn Watchers" arrives on a techno rhythm la NEW ORDER which denotes and does not only make a souvenir album, a bit of "Concerts in China"; a title that exudes regressions just to make you revise your electronic classics, a beautiful melody; "The Man of Sight and Feathers" continues with a grandiloquent sound la VANGELIS then we go back to "Blade Runner", a few touches of Mike OLDFIELD with his tubular bells then of the scriptwriter and instrumentalist in his spare time that is John CARPENTER for a piece blending cheerfully intimate and optimistic atmospheres. "Witness" ends this first part with new-wave synths straight out of an ORCHESTRAL MANEUVRES IN THE DARK track; it's kitsch, dancing, synthetic with analog parts of JARRE from the beginning coming out of this melting pot.

- Part 2 course: "Stoneglow Warnings" with always the voice of Les in the preamble as on the music of Mike OLDFIELD: announcement of programmed memories of "Chariots of Fire" and "China" with its music of mandarins at the time of the Mellotron, it is beautiful over the listening especially that I also find there fragments of "Magnetic Songs". "Stalemate" for a remix, voice of Les reminiscent of the famous bells, of the synth you want some here, it goes in all the directions and the basic rhythm and bassist of TANGERINE DREAM literally explodes on this title giving it a catchy tune; "Dust and Flowers in a Lost Eden" for the second dusting interlude flirting with science fiction which rests a little and then "Gatherings at Farewell Places" arrives, I think of "Chariots of Fire" with its immense melodic line, then dark tones of the "Albedo"; finally it turns on a "Spiral" or a "Pulsar", it leaves to scratch our electronic memories yes. "Erthsheelde" and the long finish bringing together the mythical atmospheres of the 70's and 80's: a scraping melting pot between VANGELIS, TANGERINE DREAM and Jean Michel JARRE, more complex title, almost tortured, nods to these three precursor electronic entities hitting our minds with basic two finger sounds mixed with other symphonics seeming to come out of several keyboards.

Robert REED has this ability to combine the minimalist sound of a JARRE with that of a bombastic VANGELIS, new-wave keyboards from OMD or ULTRAVOX; symphonic arias form the basis of its titles and evoke the genesis and destruction of humanity, just that! It gives new life, not it transcends the electronic music which bathed our youth, it makes us revise to avoid Alzheimer's; He brings with this album two distinct sides, on the one hand the immersion of childhood electronic groups, on the other the retranslation of songs and arias that are no longer heard but still spinning in our heads. He is in fact a musical alchemist who at first puzzled me, very quickly melted in front of this delicious crucible. The 19-minute bonus version gives classic retranslations of some titles.

 Sanctuary III by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.01 | 90 ratings

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Sanctuary III
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by Hastengas

5 stars A little late to the party on Sanctuary 3. Sanctuary 1 was music that Oldfield should have been putting out rather than some of the past Poppy type efforts like Man on the Rocks. which joined Earth Moving and Heavens open in the I've got the album, but never listen to it" basket. Im a huge long standing Oldfield fan, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn rate as the best two Albums ever for me. So Sanctuary 3......well Sanctuary 1 was good, Sanctuary 2 Ive never really got into it reminds me a bit of Amarok which is not one of my favourites, but Sanctuary 3 is just indescribably excellent.

Rob has captured the best of all the Oldfield sounds imaginable and added his own brand and style. Its an amazing piece of music and evokes those goosebump moments from early Oldfield themes. Ive played it over and over again since it arrived. Its far superior to Return to Ommadawn which I like but I dont love. This album, I adore

Rob if you read this, please keep on making the music we all crave.....along with the Magenta and Kompendium styles...an amazing talent, youve filled the gap Mike left gaping open. Thank you for the music.

 Cursus 123 430 by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 29 ratings

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Cursus 123 430
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by mr Emilio

4 stars Several weeks ago I read about Robert Reed's new album Cursus 123 430. Knowing his great Sanctuary records and his work with Magenta, I just ordered the special edition of Cursus 123 430 (cd and 5.1 dvd), which goes along with Cursus, A Symphonic Poem and an autographed booklet. A new synthesizer based album inspired by the music of Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis and others would sure be interesting enough to order without pre listening.

Last week I received the package and after a few listens of both cd's and the dvd I can assure you I have no regrets buying this special edition at all. Knowing the music of the artists who inspired Rob (and personally having a favor for the music of Vangelis above JMJ's music), I just love this new JMJ record! JMJ record? Yes, when I listen to this, it's mostly inspired by his music. And it's very well done. In my opinion Cursus 123 430 has no weak moments. It's a very coherent and enjoyable album from start to end with some great moments. I don't always like narrated albums, but the voice of Les Penning fits in very well. I'm curious what JMJ would say about this one!

If you have a surround set at home I would recommend buying the dvd as well. This surround mix is also very well done, as are previous albums of Rob Reed. It's not hard pretending you're viewing one of those majestic SF movies of the 70's listening to this album in surround sound.

The booklet holds the story by Les Penning along with beautiful drawings. My booklet signed by Rob Reed is a very nice extra.

Because the extra cd Cursus, A Symphonic Poem has it's own page on Progarchives, I won't describe it here. But believe me, it's great as well.

That leaves me to give a rating to this album. I can easily give this 4 stars with halve a star extra because it's an honest ode to the music of those great artists of the past. So, 4,5 stars really.

 Sanctuary II by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 117 ratings

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Sanctuary II
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator 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.

 Sanctuary Live by REED, ROBERT album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.16 | 19 ratings

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Sanctuary Live
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Following on from the success of the two 'Sanctuary' albums, a decision was made to bring a band together to perform both albums in their entirety and to record that for posterity. The event took place on October 8th 2016 at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, and it was then released as a CD/DVD set. There was no way that Rob could provide all the instrumentation, so brought in friends to help out, including Chris Fry, Martin Shellard, Dan Nelson, Jiffy Griffiths, Tim Lewis, Nigel Hopkins, Simon Brittlebank, Angharad Brinn, Christina Booth, Fran Murphy, Lorraine King and Ffion Wilkins. Now, this is music to be taken in and enjoyed, so although there is audience noise between the songs, everyone is calm and collected during the performances themselves. That everyone does a great job, nailing all their parts so that it comes across as very close to the original studio versions comes as no surprise, so it only leads to the question "so what was the point?".

But, the point of this was showing that music isn't just a studio creation but can be taken out and performed. True, that does mean having quite a few guitarists all playing at the same time at certain points, but I don't really have a problem with it when the music is as solid and strong as it is here. Oldfield also has to surround himself with musicians when he tours just because there are so many layers, and that same is true with Rob Reed. That he isn't spoken about in the same context apart from those in the know is nothing short of sacrilege, as I have enjoyed this and Robert's other albums just as much, if not more, than many of those by Oldfield. Plus any album that has Christina singing on it will always be something to relish. Yet another truly glorious album from the Welshman.

 Sanctuary II by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 117 ratings

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Sanctuary II
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator 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.

 Sanctuary II by REED, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.89 | 117 ratings

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Sanctuary II
Robert Reed Crossover Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

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.

Thanks to tszirmay for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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