Balanceman: Well Balanced Meal


By Benn Joseph

I’d like to open this review with a quote from track nine of this album, a song called “Paper.” “If you like to write, you write. If you like to rap, you rap. Are you a writer or a rapper?” After listening to this album, I’m so confused that I honestly don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Let me be the first to admit, however, that these songs contain some of the coolest postmodern fusion-electrojazz that I have ever heard. I can state with a positive authority that Sun Ra and his Arkestra would be proud.

Each song on this album has its own eccentric name, like “Frog & Bomb,” “Astronomical Gumdrop,” and “Cat Wife.” They all flow together in a long string of repetitive entrancements, interrupted only once in a while by bizarre samples like “I am a professor” and “I like the blue one.” But as soon as the sample is over, the tinny drum machine beats come right back in, accompanied by an omnipresent trumpet on mescaline. I have to admit, its pretty amazing.

One great thing about Well Balanced Meal is its ability to flow in a homogenized manner. This might sound bad, but I think that if the artists who created this music had tried to put together many different sounding tracks, it would have been a disaster. All these songs have a very similar style, with similar instruments, similar sound effects, just put together in different ways. You know that sound when you’re standing on a frozen lake and the ice begins to groan? Or the sound that trees make when its really windy and they’re rubbing up against your neighbor’s fence? Sounds like these run rampant in these tracks, but they’re presented in a very urban manner. They come at you fast, and are gone before you realized what they were.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the creators of this music spent some time studying music at UC Berkeley (where this album seems to have come from). There is just way too much smartness going on here. The music itself does not let go; it retains a very controlled atmosphere throughout its entirety, something reminding me that it really knows what its doing. Wow. Go to

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