Variants (2000)

by Tomas Jirku

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The Wire - May 2001 - Issue 207
Reviewed by Ken Hollings

Ghosts swirl through the system, uploaded from Tomas Jirku 's workstation as a series of 'variants' that have been replacing and updating each other on the Notype Website since November 1999. Impassive, bearing strings of recording data in place of titles, Jirku 's self-possessed compositions ease themselves out of the surrounding silence as if emanating from some hidden dimension. Dub methods of subtraction and erasure are brought close to degree zero. Depth and resonance are gradually allowed to accumulate around sombre pulses and gently undulating bass patterns, but there's also a sense of indifference here - as if this sombre collection of tracks were unconcerned about whether anyone listens or not. Phantoms are not by nature social creatures.


Alien8 Recordings - Montreal, Canada - ALIENCD23

We are very pleased to introduce Tomas Jirku, a fantastic newcomer to the IDM and minimal techno movements.

Jirku’s sound is an excellent and really fresh approach to the minimal techno genre. At times it seems highly influenced by the Cologne scene, with very slow throbbing minimal dub and plenty of electronic glitches, scratches, noises and echoes. It’s also reminiscent of material from the Chain Reaction label, only far more enjoyable for people who find that imprint’s style too housey much of the time. Jirku works solely with computers, giving him a very rich and modern sound, with a lot of punch.

We discovered Jirku via MP3 label, Notype (, and were lucky enough to be passed one of only 20 copies of his CDR release, Immaterial. The Immaterial MP3s were generating so much attention, that even Spin mentioned notice of Jirku and the Notype site.

After Immaterial, Jirku started experimenting with pieces he called “variants”. As he would complete new pieces, or rather, new variants, he would upload them to the Notype web site. Throughout this process, Jirku created 59 compositions at a furious pace and just as quickly deleted them, making it difficult for people to keep up with the project. Each “variant” within a “group” is a remake/restructuring/refinement of those that preceded it, while the first piece in each group is a new idea all together. Jirku undertook the project to expose his creative process.

We approached Tomas about the idea of releasing some of his work and he came up with the idea of reworking his favourite results from the Variants research.

At times Variants is reminiscent of Pole, with dense production and dub-like beats, but the end result is not nearly as dubby as that overly hyped German act. Imagine if Mego artists started doing minimal techno and then you’re beginning to get the idea. Jirku’s work is all the more enjoyable for his restraint: he doesn’t over-work his tracks, or feel the need to keep adding extra sounds to them. Rather, he manages to construct really solid bouncy bass backgrounds, that are very rich in sound. The minimal nature of the recordings are what really makes Variants interesting on a more experimental electronics level, with beats that are really catchy and current.

Variants is recommended for fans of SND, David Kristian, Pole, Porter Ricks, Senking, and Vladislav Delay.

The Variants launch marked Tomas Jirku’s Montreal debut, when he performed live with Thomas Brinkmann and Triple R at the very hip Mutek festival which took place in Montreal June 7 through the 11.


released June 1, 2000

Photography and artwork by Tomas Jirku



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Tomas Jirku Vancouver, British Columbia

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