F2 Music (2006)
Chimpan A, released in 2006, was a project featuring Rob Reed (better known for his work in the prog-rock band Magenta), and two members of country rock band The Storys: Rob Thompson (guitar) and Steve Balsamo (vocals). All were based in South Wales.
Balsamo had played the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar in the West End in the late-1990s and was subsequently signed to Sony, his debut album was released in 2002.
Chimpan A combined elements of trip-hop, rock and ambient sounds and received glowing reviews on its release being likened to Pink Floyd, Air, Zero 7 and Moby. If anything, it’s more intriguing with the use of a narrator, Tony Dallas, and the Welsh opera singer Sian Cothi on ‘The Last Night On Earth’.
With guest vocals from Christina Booth (Magenta), Margo Buchanan (David Gilmour, KT Tunstall) and Sam Brown (Jools Holland), Chimpan A used the opening to ‘Tubular Bells’ with Mike Oldfield’s permission and ‘The Secret Wish’ is a standout track.
We should have noted at the time Reed’s early recorded fixation with Oldfield, later pursued with his Sanctuary project. Balsamo more recently hooked up with Rosalie Deighton for the album Unfolding. He has contributed to Reed’s Kompendium album and Three Colours Dark, with Jonathan Edwards (Panic Room, Karnataka) and Rachel Cohen (The Reasoning, Karnataka).
Lyrically, Chimpan A deals with darker themes of love, lust and longing and it’s an altogether sumptuous package. Balsamo’s vocals lift the album throughout whilst the quirky instrumentation, samples and arrangements repay repeated listens.
Probably out of its time, and released on a small label, Chimpan A could – and should - have been huge. There’s always hope for the follow-up – ‘The Empathy Machine’ – released in April 2020.
© 2008-2020 David Randall. All rights reserved.
Rob Reed chatted to David Randall in June 2012 for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. In this edit he talks about Chimpan A (4:35)
Josh Taerk’s latest Lockdown session was streamed on Sunday 25 October. More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 27 September 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 29 September 2020.
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