There are many times when you listen to an album and you think to yourself that the music sounds like Pink Floyd or the guitar player has the Steve Howe sound. Sometimes a band will sound like its imitating it's heroes but claiming that it was all subconscious and they are trying to develop their own sound.
None of these issues can be said about this album. Robert Reed is the keyboard player in Magenta and started playing music after he heard Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. He made it his mission to learn all the instruments that Mike played on that album. Many years later he started the project that has been released as Sanctuary. It is his homage to Mike Oldfield during his Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Incantations period. Robert plays all the instruments on the album and it has been mixed by Tom Newman who did the original Tubular Bells album.
The first time you play the album, all you are going to do is listen for the comparisons. For example the start of the album sounds like Ommadawn. You will do this throughout the album. Musically Robert has tried to imitate the type of tunes that Oldfield created without copying them and he does a good job. As a stand alone album it is a very good one. Well played, well produced and it sounds fabulous. Its just that you can't get away from the fact that it sounds like a Mike Oldfield album right down to the guitar sound. Which is exactly as Robert Reed planned it.
Enjoy it for what it is. A really nice piece of music. And for the music I give it four stars. But in ten or twenty years time will people still be playing this album or will they be reaching for their copy of Tubular Bells? I think we know the answer to that.
**** Dave Smith
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