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CHIMPAN A

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Chimpan A biography
Formed in Swansea, Wales, UK in 2006

CHIMPAN A was (at present) a one-off side project by ROBERT REED, keyboardist with Neo-Prog band MAGENTA with vocalist Steve BALSAMO (who also features on the Eric WOOLFSON's "Poe" musical), and guitarist Rob THOMPSON of the Welsh alt-folk/country-rock band, THE STORYS. Produced in 2006 their only album, the self-titled, "Chimpan A", features guest vocalists Christine BOOTH (MAGENTA), Sam BROWN (PINK FLOYD, David GILMOUR, solo), operatic soprano Sian COTHIE and London-based poet Tony DALLAS, to produce a pop-prog oriented fusion of PINK FLOYD, MASSIVE ATTACK, Mike OLDFIELD and John TAVENER.

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CHIMPAN A discography


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CHIMPAN A top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.42 | 22 ratings
Chimpan A
2006
3.85 | 52 ratings
The Empathy Machine
2020
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Empathy Machine (The Instrumental Mixes)
2020

CHIMPAN A Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CHIMPAN A Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CHIMPAN A Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CHIMPAN A Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
The Secret Wish E.P.
2019
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Speed of Love EP
2020

CHIMPAN A Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Empathy Machine by CHIMPAN A album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 52 ratings

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The Empathy Machine
Chimpan A Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Only 14 years on from the debut, Robert Reed (keyboards, drum programming, guitars, bass) and Steve Balsamo (vocals, throat singing) are back with the follow-up. They have also brought in some additional singers, most notably Robert's Magenta bandmate Christina Booth. Interestingly this is not an album which has just been thought of, but one they have actually been working on since the debut in between all the other projects they work on. Musically there are bits and pieces which sound like some of Robert's other work (especially his Mike Oldfield-style electric guitar), while some of the female vocals are quite Floydian, but generally this is set to focus on Steve's vocals, supported by wonderful keyboards.

This is a modern singer's album, with wonderful accompaniment, and I did find myself asking questions as to why I have not previously come across Steve as he is a wonderful singer, working on projects such as Balsamo Deighton, Jesus Christ Superstar (where he played the part of Jesus ), Eric Woolfson and Jon Lord. Someone who performs in high profile musicals on major stages knows what exactly is needed from him night after night, and his partnership with Robert allows him to show his breadth and diversity. The end result is something which is very polished, modern Marillion combined with Coldplay and Magenta to create something which for the most part is very special indeed. I have been reviewing Robert's music for more than quarter of a century, and he is one of my favourite musicians and yet again he proves there are few to match him in the accompanist stakes.

However, there are some elements on the album which I did find not to my liking. I could have done without the dance section in 'Stars', and I certainly do not enjoy hearing electronically treated vocals (also on the same song), while the album as a whole calls out for a real drummer. However, putting these to one side, this is still a wonderful album which is going to be appreciated by a huge base of fans, even those who think they would never listen to a progressive rock album, as this is very much on the crossover spectrum moving into modern theatrical (the delicate female vocals towards the end of 'Stars' is actually one of my favourite sections) with both rock and pop influences as well. A great musician, a great singer, with more wonderful female vocals in support, combined with interesting songs, this is certainly worthy of investigation.

 Chimpan A by CHIMPAN A album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.42 | 22 ratings

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Chimpan A
Chimpan A Crossover Prog

Review by johnobvious

4 stars To see this rated so lowly on this site pains me greatly. Released in 2006 but I don't think the band was added to PA until many years later. It flew under the radar upon release and now gets no love at all as their follow up finally sees the light after 14 years. I ask for an open mind toward this review and not an immediate dismissal seeing a 1.7 rating prior to my 4 stars. I love Magenta and Rob Reed but finding comparisons to that band would be mostly futile. He and his cohorts on this really wanted to use Oldfield as a jumping off point but create a different animal that you would be unique to what is out there.

One thing from the review I initially read that stuck with me (and I paraphrase), 'Is it prog rock? No. Is it prog? Yes. To call it rock music would be a stretch. There is very little in the way of guitar and there is some scratching like in rap. The whole thing is about beauty, in the sweeping passages and the wonderful singing from both Steve Balsamo and some very talented women. There is narration and I find it to be very impactful and it fits in on the few songs that have it. The music can be delicate and expansive in the same song with melodies that will stick with you. There are strings, horns, piano and just a lot of beauty that will hopefully have an impact on you like it had on me. It is one of that albums that I just like to go to when I need something uplifting and it sits among a small handful that I own that I would put on for my wife and we could both enjoy. It is an album you want to put on in the dark and let it fill up the room with its gorgeous music and angelic singing.

I am sure this is not for everyone but if you are interested in something out of the ordinary I urge you to check out some samples and decide for yourself if you want to be a part of this world that Reed, Balsamo and Rob Thompson put together as a side project that can stand proudly with anything else they have done. 4.5 stars.

 The Empathy Machine by CHIMPAN A album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 52 ratings

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The Empathy Machine
Chimpan A Crossover Prog

Review by tmay102436

5 stars This release is such a pleasant surprise, during this year of COVID-19. Very truthful, relaxing, and yet potent. The singing is superb, and the spoken word is perfect. The very "feel" of this is what is needed right now (at least for me.)

The keyboard / guitar playing are tasty and dreamy, and yet not too far from the path. The highlight for me here is the surround mix. It is all encompassing, but again, not to the point of distraction. Just heavenly.

This is one of those albums that takes a look over its shoulder at the highlights of the past in prog / almost new wave, but really adds its own stamp of creativity for today's times and needs.

Thanks to all that worked on this BRAVO!

 Chimpan A by CHIMPAN A album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.42 | 22 ratings

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Chimpan A
Chimpan A Crossover Prog

Review by Chris S
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars This album unfortunately does not flow coherently enough. At times bordering on avante-garde and yet other times simply trip hop. Yes vocally strong with some good windpipes in the voice division but overall the album fails to deliver a consistent thread and blows hot and cold too often to command tolerance. Borderline crossover entrance yet the theme parts alone are not enough to raise the bar. ' Sam's Song' is OK as is " You Move in Me' but Magenta and PF support vocalists have done much better before. Completionists will already have this album and I guess exposure to the material may stay, sadly, with completionists too. Not to say the musicianship is not good, but there is that ' been there, done that, worn the T-shirt' feel to the output.
Thanks to Dean for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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