Thomas Jirku's first release for Alien8, Variants, compiled re-worked tracks from the conceptual producer's early "Variants" project. Originally, before Jirku began recording for Alien8 or Force Inc., he released his music through Notype, a web-based MP3 label. He called his recordings "Variants," partly based on the idea that as he would complete new pieces from the previous ones -- a total of 59 compositions, each a refinement of its predecessor -- and delete the old ones after uploading the new ones. It was a rather furiously paced process that was difficult for listeners to follow, yet this was no doubt part of its allure. Unsurprisingly, the concept amazed many listeners, and soon labels were courting Jirku. In particular, Alien8 asked him to compile many of the pieces from the project onto a full-length Variants album. He accepted the offer, and this is the result. However, Jirku refined the tracks for this album, molding them into a full-length composite. Though compiling the pieces onto one album somewhat diminishes Jirku's initial concept, the result is nonetheless startling. Most of the compositions fall within the realm of minimal dub-techno, not too different from what you'd expect from the Kompakt label, in fact. Jirku would abandon this style for his successive Force Inc. album, Sequins, and that's somewhat unfortunate since Variants is indeed a marvelous accomplishment. So if you want to know what all the initial fuss was about, here is your answer, albeit in a somewhat refined format.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier