Sanctuary by Robert Reed (Tigermoth 2014)
Mike Oldfield finally has a peer
1. Part 1 (Robert Reed) 20:44
2. Part 2 (Robert Reed) 18:12
Robert Reed is writer, producer and engineer, and plays: grand piano, electric guitars, acoustic guitar, nylon guitar, 12 string guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel, vibraphone, marimba, timpani, gran cassa, recorders, solina string ensemble, Roland Sh200, farfisa organ, sleigh bells, orchestral snare, table, banjo, bodhran, plus . . . tubular bells
Tom Newman: Bodhran
Synergy Vocals: Wordless Choir
Angharad Brinn: Angel Voice
Executively Produced by Tom Newman
Mastered by Simon Heyworth
As a child, Robert Reed was so impressed with Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (Virgin 1973), which he first discovered on a Geoff Love and his Orchestra collection of film themes (Tubular Bells was used for The Exorcist), he decided to learn to play all of the listed instruments, including grand piano, glockenspiel, farfisa organ, bass guitar, electric guitar and so on. Several Magenta neo-prog albums and the Kompendium project later, Reed decided to record a tribute to Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells in the same style with the same instruments, all played by himself. The only exceptions being the Synergy Vocals (from Philip Glass and Steve Reich) as the 'wordless choir' and Tom Newman on bodhran. There are no synthesized or sampled instruments.
Sanctuary is organised like Tubular Bells with two broadly instrumental tracks, one of twenty minutes and the other of eighteen. It is even co-produced by one of the original Tubular Bells producers, Tom Newman, and mastered by another, Simon Heyworth (the third co-producer of the original was Oldfield).
Reed has denied the album is either a remake or a pastiche, claiming all the melodies are different to those on Tubular Bells. Nevertheless, he has utilised the Oldfield clean high-register guitar sound with folk-classical and some bluesy arrangements. All the elements are in place, with the sounds of mandolin-sounding guitar, fuzzy guitars, fast guitars, bodhran and bells. What is more he seems to combine the same sounds, or if not, different ones are combined in the same way as by Oldfield. Really the work blends parts of Tubular Bells with bits of the next five Oldfield instrumental albums and some from the more eclectic collections such as Five Miles Out. The saving grace of Sanctuary, besides Reed's considerable talent and the sheer impressiveness of the finished product, is that he has managed to add his own touches, like the bubbling noises, calls and handclaps. There are also shades of Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, whose style is similar to that of Oldfield.
The main problem I have, as others have remarked, is the original plays in your head when listening to this album. Some familiarities do not appear, and are missed as methods of breaking up the lengthy instrumental passages, like the 'Piltdown Man' with his grunts and calls, or the aristocratic MC announcing the different instruments. The famous segment used for The Exorcist is alluded to occasionally, especially towards the end of Part 2. According to an interview with Music-news.com, the title comes from Reed recalling growing up in the Rhondda Valley, Wales, and sitting alone all day with his headphones and music as 'a kind of sanctuary'.
Sanctuary is very dense and, while I liked it immediately, I was left wondering why I should listen to this in place of Tubular Bells, but the more I hear, the more I like. For the next album, Reed might consider calling Maggie Reilly and reworking Five Miles Out.
Review from Get Ready to Rock: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/201...eed-sanctuary/
South Wales Argus interview: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/lei...bum_Sanctuary/
Music-news interview: http://www.music-news.com/ShowReview...20Sactuary%20-
Discussion on musicians who are similar to Mike Oldfield from Tubular.net: http://tubular.net/forums/similar-ar...=ST;f=40;t=993
Rob Reed's official site: http://tmr-web.co.uk/robreedsancturay/Blank.html