From the All Music Guide:
Previously released in 1991 on cassette-only under Evening Mist, Sanctuary: Music from a Zen Garden from multi-talented flutist Riley Lee is a stunning look at the musician’s dazzling skill of playing the shakuhachi.
This flute, traditionally played by Japanese monks, bellows low and captures a deep mood throughout the release. It’s enchanting, yet mysterious as Lee frolics with the ambience of sound itself. Pitches are light and flowing, soaring and brooding; an infinite calming presence.
The overall sonic quality on Sanctuary is enjoyable, certainly a splendid and solid look at Lee’s impeccable and ever-changing mastery.
– MacKenzie Wilson
As peaceful and enchanting as a sunset’s afterglow on a cloudless summer evening, the gentle music of Riley Lee (playing shakuhachi flute, an instrument traditionally used by Japanese monks) and Bert Moon (on koto, a 13-string zither) stirs a warm, caressing breeze that calms the spirit and stills the mind.
Lee’s elegant, prolonged tones are gentle to the point of weightlessness, residing in comfortable low and middle ranges without sounding a shrill note. Moon, though not credited on the recording’s front cover, admirably handles an egalitarian role throughout the disc’s 61 minutes, handsomely complementing Lee’s cerebral textures with dignified, unobtrusive accents.
Listeners raised on Occidental music will find little alien about Lee and Moon’s graceful, unhurried duets, ideal for periods of restfulness or contemplation.
– Terry Wood