The periphery of sound transfiguration is a welcoming neighborhood. Here more than anywhere else authentic innovators, medium-level parvenus and dabbling puppets coexist. Many people, not gifted with the indispensable cognizance to ascertain artistic legitimacy, tear down the barriers of quality in a general state of vacuous “aural gratification”. So where does a record like Oxidation States stand? This writer, after several listens, is moderately content with it. Although the concept behind the work is not exactly new – just think Jim Haynes – Wanke found a way to present his “oxidized” sounds according to a sort of malleable architecture, so to speak, deprived of actual dangers but quite fascinating nonetheless.
The music is organized in scenes where the instrumental matter, the environmental enhancement and the listener’s psychology interblend as a single entity. There aren’t veritable dichotomies, in that even apparently remote sources are perceived as pertaining to the closer occurrences. Still, one manages to distil liquids from solids; the cohesion of stasis and pulse inside darkish snapshots of resonant fullness does the rest. Events succeed rather smoothly, yet the clear sensation of ongoing change – in the overall lighting, in the dynamic associations, in the acoustic backgrounds – warrants the stability of an audience’s curiosity. The typical ingredients related to similar releases – droning, absence of definite gradations, noises of uncertain nature, manipulation of echoes from real life – are all there, but our relative familiarity is contrasted by a scarcity of genuine reassurances.