Variable Unit is a loosely knit collective bringing together some of the Bay Area's most talented musicians. The five members here come from a variety of musical backgrounds -- from jazz to hip-hop to classical and rock -- and the eclectic, engaging Seven Grain clearly reflects that diversity. Stalwart drummer Ron E. Beck combines with Matt Montgomery to provide the foundation for Variable Unit's ambitious sonic explorations. Funk, soul, and jazz are the touchstones of this subtle, often-sensuous mix which is as notable for its consistency as it is for its quality. While Variable Unit is clearly looking to stretch musical boundaries, Seven Grain never tends toward needless self-indulgence. The compositions here are energetic yet restrained, and the mix is seamless. The tracks featuring indie rapper Azeem stand out as particularly memorable.