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Apologies to De La Soul, but today, five is the magic number. Dan Curtin's Lifeblood marks the fifth artist album in Mobilee's ever-growing catalogue. It also happens to be his ninth album, and his first full-length in three years, which we think is ample cause for celebration.

Beginning in the early '90s, Curtin established an inimitable brand of machine soul on releases for Strictly Rhythm, Peacefrog, Sublime and many others, and he hasn't slowed down sinceincluding three recent singles for Mobilee and her sister label Leena, not to mention Curtin's own acclaimed Metamorphic label, which continues to chart the deepest recesses of electronic dance music.

A bona fide legend of Midwestern American techno, Curtin has never shied away from the album format, using the medium again and again as a vehicle for exploring ideas that don't fit conveniently on the space of a 12". Lifeblood is no different. Refreshingly varied and remarkably cohesive, it's a welcome reminder of techno's expressive potential.

Despite its roots in classic sounds, this is no throwback. It's grounded in the here and now: drenched in funk, strengthened with silicon/analog alloys, and positively aglow with emotion. It spans 16 tracks: ten of them made with the dance floor in mind, plus short ambient sketches and two unexpected slow-burners to remind us of techno's kinship with golden-era hip-hop. It's an album that's fine with being broken down and carted off in DJ bags, or spliced into a mixtape for your special someonebut it also rewards sustained, concentrated listening as a whole.

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Lifeblood

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