The name New Sector Movements has been shortened to NSM, and Turn It Up likewise represents a simplification in IG Culture's approach to production, replacing most of the complex jazz-funk mechanics of Download This in favor of surprisingly fuss-free contemporary R&B. Neither as imaginative as Timbaland nor as featureless as a run-of-the-mill R&B producer circa 2004, Culture and his associates have made a record that veers near Erykah Badu's sparely-arranged Worldwide Underground in scope -- and further away from broken beat that's full of busily-programmed polyrhythms, soaring Charles Stepney-ian strings, and modern interpretations of Weather Report that sound more like the background music on the Weather Channel. It's not that Culture was ever at risk for falling into the trap that so many other broken beat producers have fallen into. He either felt the need to disassociate himself from broken beat, or had the desire to move on to something slightly different and more straightforward. Though elements from Culture's past are bound to show up from track to track, it is a little disheartening to hear him decamp to forms that are less susceptible to innovation. Disregarding a handful of tracks where nothing much happens, Turn It Up remains an album of tightly-arranged songs, with Culture's rotating team of guest vocalists taking center stage. Front-loaded dabblings with dancehall and gritty, surging funk aren't enough to make one categorize this as anything but an R&B record -- and a consistently delightful one at that. This isn't a step forward, but sometimes staying in place is perfectly necessary.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman