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Robert Reed - 'Sanctuary' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/83/a0/7d/Robert-Reed-Sanctuary-23-1420231953.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 02, 2015    
 
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Brilliant.

Some of you, who are of a similar age to myself (close to the half century) will probably remember all the hoo-ha that surrounded the release of Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' when it came out in 1973. That album, for whatever reason, became one of the soundtracks of the 1970s and showcased an incredibly talented young man who could play every instrument put in front of him, seemingly with ease.

It was also the catalyst and primary influence that made a very young boy (aged seven at that time), one Robert Reed (Magenta, Kompendium), want to learn to play musical instruments and also to become a song-writer. That drive and ambition instilled in Reed by '...Bells' has now, after all the intervening years, culminated in the album 'Sanctuary' on which we find Reed not only writing everything but also playing all twenty-two instruments that can be found on the album (including tubular bells!).

As for the music itself – which is stylistically in the same vein as the aforementioned '...Bells' – 'Sanctuary Parts 1 & 2', are two fully separate musical pieces, split across the CD and each part clocks in at around the twenty minute mark. The two halves of this epic work contain memorable themes that run throughout each of the two distinct sections of music, though they do at points have melodies that interweave during the forty minutes play time. What astonishes you the most, however as you listen to the album, is the fact that nobody does this kind of thing these days. A forty minute album with everything composed and played by just one person is unheard of and the fact that Reed has done it and can keep the listener entertained throughout the albums length, speaks volumes for the man and his talent.

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As a purely instrumental piece of work it is hard to say to you that you must listen to a certain part at eleven minutes and ten seconds etc, because 'Sanctuary' is the type of musical composition that must be enjoyed in its entirety. You cannot take snippets from here and there and just enjoy a couple of minutes of the music. Instead you must take pleasure in, and marvel at, the whole thing in just one sitting. Only then can the true strength and depth of what Reed has actually accomplished be rightly appreciated.

'Sanctuary' deserves a much bigger audience than I fear it will get but I know that the loyal readers of Fireworks, who all love great music and this is great music, will love what Robert Reed has done on this his masterpiece. So do yourselves a favour and grab a copy of 'Sanctuary' as soon as you can. In summing up, this could have been just a one word review – brilliant.

Ian Johnson

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