Cleveland's seasoned techno don Dan Curtin releases his first long player for Mobilee, marking the flourishing label's fifth artist album in total. Lifeblood is Curtin's first album for three years, his ninth overall, displaying the kind of diversity and cutting edge mentality that makes this one stand out as one of the best in his bulging discography.
Curtin has been producing with an unmatchable work ethic since 1992, releasing records on Strictly Rhythm, Peace Frog, Sublime and his own imprint, Metamorphic Recordings amongst a host of others. Still today, his output levels are through the roof, his three recent singles for Mobilee serving as a reminder. Yet it on the album format where the American really comes into his own and explores his ideas that wouldn't fit comfortably on vinyl. He takes full advantage of the format once more on Lifeblood, unearthing the full potential of techno as a genre.
The album has a classic and vintage feel and although the majority of it is aimed at the club, the whole record is dipped in funk and etched out with emotion. At times there are beautiful downtempo moments - the dreamy slo-mo quality of "Perfect Affair" and the ambience of "Hidden" and "Can't Say No's" trip-hop tinged beats being perfect examples. Taking things up a notch, "Mr. Bean Do An E" is a jacking ode to classic techno, "I See Light" is a true stomper and "Other" (Lost In You Mix) brings the house groove. "Mirrors Reflecting" is even more hard hitting, letting hard-knuckled percussion do the work whereas "Two Tickets to Paris" has a light hearted and playful feel.
Lifeblood is a refreshingly varied and cohesive techno album, if indeed you can actually label it as a techno album. Showing all who hear it the potency a techno album is capable of, there is no wonder that Dan Curtin is a true American techno hero.
Much of Dan Curtin's recent output has focused on his house leanings, but this release sees him switch back to a techno sound. However, you may be surprised if you are expecting a continuation of the abstract magic of albums like "Art & Science" or "Silicon Dawn". Instead, the US producer bases shaking percussion and dissected vocal samples around an ominous bassline on the title track. That said, "Fly By Night" does have a connection to his past work - while remaining rooted on the dance floor, the cacophony of bleeps, shaking percussion and loose bass comes across as a cleaner take on the freeform jazz techno of his Time Undefined project.