Calling New Sector Movement's sound "ahead of its time" is something of a misnomer: the arrangements and playing of this group draws from jazz fusion while tipping its West London derby to R&B and drum & bass. Producer/percussionist I.G. Culture leads this incredibly diverse unit of players and singers through a massively plotted pool of grooves that shake you up with their production: you may literally find yourself scared that an album this good could go so unheralded.
Despite the apparent influences of this record and its producer, none of it sounds even remotely lifted. This is the type of music that Herbie Hancock, George Duke or Lonnie Liston Smith would have still been making if they hadn't had a bite of commercial success and opted to stick to their fusion guns. The music here is both traditionally-minded and entirely fresh at the same time on every track, period.
Appearances from Frank McComb, Julie Dexter, Eric Appapoulay and a slew of others ground the album in a hip-deep swath of funk and two-step beats that somehow melds the 70s tone with a contemporary set of production values almost entirely unseen in the current industry. The original version of "Sun" (the version that appears on Vikter Duplaix's "DJ Kicks" compilation is a remix) still has a fast and furious beat, but is embued with so much more soul than its American counterpart it's a wonder the remix ever got released. "Two Sides" stomps a mudhole in your midsection with its sheer rhythmic audacity and Eska's vocal gymnastics which seem to leap right out of George Duke's "Master of the Game" LP with an incredibly self-assured authority, and well-earned at that. The title track "Download This" starts and stops on a dime without losing its steam.
Pretty much nothing could steer the songs here out of their sheer impressiveness on every front.
The songs are at longer-than-average lengths, most clocking in at over 5 minutes to allow the arrangements to breathe and to offer as much ear candy as possible per pound...and with all of the George Duke-flavored riffs and Caron Wheeler-inspired vocal swirls floating around this record, there's more candy here than there is in the Trick-or-Treat bowl next to the front door at Milton Hershey's house on Halloween. This icing, coupled with the cake of the hectic rhythms throughout ensures a record that most people will be drawn to, but they won't know why. Of course, anyone who's familiar with any of the influential forms of this band's sound (fusion, UK soul, break beat) will be thoroughly engaged from beginning to end.
Sure, we know that we couldn't even begin to have expected such a record to find its way to a radio station in the current climate of the music industry in this day and age, but after listening to this incredible album it will chill you to your bone to think about how robbed we all are by the current art brokers at any given moment.