Bits On The Side

And there’s more! Robert Reed reveals his upcoming prog-friendly projects.

- Curses 123 430 is out now via Tigermoth. Visit www.robreedoff­ for more.

“We’re like Hinge and Bracket. We always get together for a nice afternoon tea somewhere like a church and put the world to rights,” laughs Rob Reed, describing his friendship with Les Penning, with whom he’s released a new EP.

Having recorded EPs of In Dulci Jubilo and The Floral Dance, the duo put out another in October to celebrate Ommadawn’s 45th anniversar­y. It also includes their take on the 70s charttoppi­ng instrument­al, Eye Level, originally performed by the Simon Park Orchestra, which was the theme song to the TV detective series, Van Der Valk.

“It’s one of those records my parents bought and I just loved it, so I said to Les, ‘Let’s do a version of that and put it out close to Christmas.’ With the 45th anniversar­y coming around, I also said, ‘Let’s grab a bit of Ommadawn and do an orchestral version’ with him playing recorder. It’s gone down very well.”

Reed has also returned to Sanctuary 4 and has started afresh on what he says will be two 50-minute albums released within about 10 or 12 weeks of each other in 2021.

“I didn’t want to release a double album as it’s too much for people to take in in one go. No one has got the time anymore. For me, it has to be 40 to 50 minutes maximum. It’s going to be like a film in two parts, where people can digest and enjoy the first part before the second comes out two to three months later.”

There’s also going to be a title change, he explains, and again, it’s Penning who’s played a big part in this. “For Sanctuary 4, I wanted it to be a bit more connected with something. I sat down with Les and we decided to call it The Ringmaster. It’ll be in two parts, the music being very similar in style, and there will be two long 20-minute tracks while others will be 12 minutes and three minutes.”

And what’s the story behind the title? “The Ringmaster is a character that Les has come up with who’s basically an imaginary person who torments all artists: the painter, writer or musician, rather like a muse. They can be good or bad, but they’re the sort of person who looks after us creatives but also plays with us.

I can assure you he or she does exist, making us sometimes bang our heads against a brick wall or give us the tunes,” says Reed.

On top of that, there’s a new Cyan album in the offing, which features Tiger Moth Tales’ Peter Jones on vocals and Luke

Machin on guitar, as well as Reed. “I’m looking forward to people hearing that. It’s a good combinatio­n and it’s amazing to hear Pete on it, but I’m going to be developing it a bit further before it’s released.”

a 22-minute orchestral version of it in the style of Ennio Morricone with bassoons and oboes?’ And that’s what I did. It took me 10 days, but it sounds amazing – like an orchestra playing it. And a lot of people have told me it’s better than the main album!”

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