If Donald Fagan and Walter Becker were transplanted into a Kiwi home on a Malaysian street then the resulting effort might well be this album, actually the work of musician/songwriter Russell Stedman, who recently returned to Christchurch after time in Penang. He’d gestated on his music for nearly 20 years there before finally rounding up a group of brilliant local and international players to lay down some funky ’70s grooves in a KL studio. Of particular note is precision drummer Bin Budin, Stedman’s unofficial arranger, lode stone and band leader on this project.
Opening tracks Gallery and Midnight are like outtakes from Katy Lied. Funky, very slick. Pathways and Home give a big nod to Al Jarreau. There are some really complex ideas behind these tunes, about life, Eastern philosophies and making choices – plenty of layers to peel, particularly on Skin, with its slightly biblical overtones and allusions to a lost relationship. It’s clear this former accountant is looking for a more gospel experience on his road to funkiness.