It's difficult to know where to begin with an album like Variant, so let's do the obvious thing and begin at the beginning. Andy Fosberry's debut full-length as Sunset Graves marks a radical shift in tone from his earlier material. He's already summed up that change better than I ever could: "To find my voice, I had to stop singing." Even after a productive 2012, in which he released no less than five EPs, Fosberry remained frustrated, so taking vocals out of the equation seems to have freed him of much of the baggage last year brought with it, as well as placing emphasis on his flourishing creativity.

He takes pride in having played everything on this album himself, and that's even more of an achievement when you consider the music that the album consists of: there's no standard set-up, with mood and genre changing from one track to the next. If you didn't think it was possible to reference Boards of Canada and Frames-era Oceansize on the same song, then get ready to be surprised.

Post-rock, trip-hop, ambient - nothing is off limits for Fosberry, and he approaches it all in suitably cinematic style, whether navigating a maze of time signature changes on opener 'Six Minutes Sixty Six Seconds', or unleashing waves of deep, throbbing bass on 'Airlock', whose shuffling rhythms and ticking percussion help to induce a meditative state. It's an album that relies on creating atmospheres, whether they be serene - as on the blissful 'Under the Widefield', whose gradually unfolding instrumental narrative remains intricate and compelling as its moves along at an unhurried pace - or plaintive, the latter of which is best exemplified by the sprawling album centrepiece 'Everything the Same All the Time', on which Fosberry goes the whole 9 yards - or should that be 9 minutes? - and the delicate beauty that lies at the heart of the album is given an extra push into genuine transcendence.

Sunset Graves' debut is all over the map in a musical sense, but what ties its disparate styles together is Fosberry's love of subtlety. While there are certainly moments that see him cut loose, such as the well-placed riffing and space rock groove that penultimate track 'Abyssal Ghosts' floats in and out of. The record is most definitely a headphone listen. Approached with a clarity of vision that could only have come from the trial-and-error journey of creation he embarked upon last year, the new material takes its time to make an impact, revealing hidden depths upon repeated listens.

Fosberry's love of samples results in surprises aplenty, and an album that demands to be savoured and appreciated properly. It took a while for him to figure himself out, so it's fitting that he's created something that will make the same impression on the listener: an understated album that's undeniably impressive.