• WAEVZ AU

Chef Chung - Balance (REVIEW)

Updated: Nov 11, 2021


Initial Thoughts


‘Balance’ is Chef Chung’s follow-up to his magnificent debut album released earlier this year, ‘BETWEEN THE LILLIES’. Where ‘BETWEEN THE LILLIES’ hit the listener with an incredible experimental cacophony of sounds, ‘Balance’ opts to embrace the album’s sombre moments whilst retaining Chung’s edge for tenacious and tempered bars. To the delight of myself, airy instrumentals and soulful samples are perfectly chosen by Chung to elevate the listener above the clouds in a haze of memo-esque reflections on the Melbourne artist’s own world.


Chef Chung’s touch is felt right across the EP, being that it was completely self-produced and written, mixed and mastered by Chung himself. In addition, Chung designed the evocative cover art as well, demonstrating a desire to have the project be the truest extension of himself. Read on to get our full thoughts on this special project that we simply cannot stop replaying.




Song Breakdown


‘Dive’


The EP kicks off with the atmospheric ‘Dive’, a track which takes the listener through the headspace of Chef Chung amidst all the chaos of the world around us. Crackling static, dreamy keys and an operatic orchestral sample are utilised as the backing to a track which sees Chung telling the listener to simply breathe and take a break from their own head, as he endeavours to do as well. Bookending Chung’s raw bars is a transition between two radio stations; the opening’s typical car, insurance or banking ad which could easily be mistaken as one or the other, and the end’s harrowing and abrupt news report detailing a home invasion.


‘Jousan, Pt. II’


‘Jousan, Pt. II’ takes the listener on a stream-of-consciousness style journey whereby Chef Chung’s thoughts emit themes of loneliness that catches up despite the bustling world around him and insecurities which cause him to question the potential ulterior motives of his friends. A refrained approach allows Chung to eloquently convey his train of thought, leading him to experience a euphoric appreciation for those closest to him against a sample backdrop which packs with it an explosion of vibrant energy that hits the listener deep in their soul.


‘Balance’


You’re ushered into this EP’s titular track by a set of piano keys which feel reminiscent of the random titbits of beauty that you would hear as a pianist attempts to unearth a newfound distinctive riff from their mind. Comparatively, Chung’s bars are both unsparingly direct and indirect, taking aim at materialism whilst brandishing his own lyrical prowess. I had to listen to this a few times to appreciate it fully.


‘No Love’


The transition between ‘Balance’ and ‘No Love’ struck me wonderfully. This track, which sits at the middle of the entire EP, sees Chung playing around with multiple drums patterns and enhanced synths whilst beckoning the listener in with multiple backing voices; each character seemingly appearing to illustrate the makings of Chung’s current mindset.


‘Holy Water’


‘Holy Water’ is filled to the brim with attention-grabbing bars, each as potent as the next in getting you to empathise and laugh with Chung as he shares his witty musings with the world. As Chung warmly details his connections to his roots and expresses his understandings of the world through his experiences in travelling back to his homeland, we are treated to a sample which encapsulates the thoughtful air of this track.


‘724’ ft Mary Sue


There are undeniably many attributes in this track that I love. From the horns, to Chef Chung coming to terms with the fruitless search for understanding, to Mary Sue’s admittance to the fact that his own mental needs regular upkeep, to the feeling of wanting to take a break from the world to appreciate life around you. All of it is special. ‘724’ maintains the theme of passing through radio stations, thoughts and feelings set by prior tracks, an uncanny attribute that ties this EP together.


‘Take the Sword’


‘Take the Sword’ juggles a balance of unadulterated expressions of honesty and harmonious samples that has been an ever-present facet of this EP. The line: “In my dreams never wanted to be dead and I still don’t please never wanna be in unison” captures the dream-like experience of listening to this EP, one whereby Chung has taken us through his own subconscious whilst retaining a desire to not be like the rest in his thoughts, values and opinions of the world around him.





Final Thoughts


‘Balance’ exudes an energy of unearthing the love in the midst of the chaos that unfolds around us. It is an EP which effortlessly teaches you to accept and embrace the world around you in order to be better prepared for the days ahead. Something we all need and want to feel during this period of chaos and lockdowns especially. And Chung, who is simply equipped with the talent to articulate his feelings through words and sounds, is the necessary deliverer of this message.


The EP brings together multiple facets which make Chef Chung’s music so invigorating to listen to, whilst offering further insight into his own thoughts and headspace following ‘BETWEEN THE LILLIES’. Tracks like ‘Dive’ and ‘Holy Water’ crescendo as Chung unravels his thoughts only to cutaway with a vocal sample which sails through the imagination and plants itself within your subconscious. This structure works especially well to help the listener appreciate the beauty in the solemn moments, as even when Chung’s thoughts swell up and overwhelm him, he has outlets to take him away from the anxiety for a moment.




Words by Matthew Badrov


Published July 29th, 2021.