Tomas Jirku, Variants
Released: June 2000
Variants started out as a No-Type mp3 experiment. Jirku posted versions of songs onto that wonderful label's web site, where anyone could download and listen to the mp3s. As time went on, Jirku replaced the versions with new versions. Each new version was altered or modified based either on listener's comments and suggestions or on Jirku's own aesthetic dictum. When he'd gone as far as he could with the songs--up to about 50 different variants, apparently--Jirku pulled the songs from No-Type and released this collection of the best variants. The online experiment was interesting for the sake of its relative novelty, but the music collected here--the residue of that experiment, so to speak--is good on its own right. As the liner notes suggest, fans of SND, David Kristian, Pole, and other "minimalist" artists will really enjoy this music. But that doesn't mean that Jirku's music resembles these other artists work in any way. If anything, his music is more enjoyable than these other artists, due mostly to a strong desire to make his CGD experiments listenable, not just experimental. Of course, this isn't a new development--you'll hear me say this same thing about Jake Mandell or Sutekh's music (just read those reviews). But that doesn't mean Jirku is copying anyone, nor is his music a rehashing of IDM sounds we've heard a billion times before. The third song, for instance, has a lollipop bouncing rhythm that jumps up and down throughout its six minutes plus; added to this bounce are haunting synth echoes (that really do sound like echoes--echoes of the rhythm, in fact), and some weird CGD clicks and the like to round out the work. Other songs are more minimal--fragmented beats and minimal, haunting organ sounds floating around each other. Still other songs are even more minimal, just weird tuba sounds moving in no particular rhythm with fractalized noise dotting at the corners. The music is intricate, detailed, intelligent--exactly what you'd expect from music created over time, in the public eye, by a master craftsman.
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