Welcome to The TANK


Farewell, Alvin Lucier

We note with sadness and appreciation the passing of composer Alvin Lucier. Alvin was a big fan of The TANK, and we of him.  He came out to Rangely to record in The TANK twice in recent years, the first time simply tossing a piece of lumber around in the space, to special sonic effect.  For Solstice in 2019, the West Coast percussionist William Winant performed a Lucier piece for solo triangle in The TANK, “Silver Streetcar for Orchestra.” Bruce Odland shot the performance in 360 video and engineered the recording. Taking a cue from Alvin’s compositional method, Bruce re-TANKed the recorded work, sending it back through the structure a second time, to bring out the nuance.  Like all of Alvin’s ingenious creations, the piece proves richer than one might ever imagine, actually finding a bass note, among many others, in the resonance of The TANK.

Here’s a link to our TANK Masters page about the piece and that Silver Streetcar video itself (scroll down a bit).

Slow Beethoven
in Steamboat

On September 28 and 29, 2021, Tank staff traveled to Steamboat Springs to present an outdoor sound installation of a project created during the 2021 Solstice Festival—our “Slow Beethoven” recording, which re-produced in four tracks two movements from the late string quartets of Ludwig Van Beethoven, the Cavatina from Opus 130 and the fugue from Opus 131.

Backstory

In June, the Tank remotely recorded these adagio movements, as cellist Jeffrey Zeigler led three other players at National Sawdust in Brooklyn.  As the quartet played, they sent the sound of their performance to the Tank via an electronic link and listened to it resonate in the Tank’s profound reverb.  To allow each of these lush chords to ring out and fade in the Tank, the quartet had to slow the work down drastically, so that even these short movements took more than an hour to play.  The result was stunning, part Beethoven and part rich and unworldly sonic texture.

At the Solstice Festival, we played the group’s performance through four speakers in the Tank, as a mesmerizing all-day installation.  Then, when we were invited to present something for Colorado Creative Industries Summit in Steamboat Springs, we decided to put this Slow Beethoven installation on the road.

Bruce Odland’s Plan

The Steamboat Installation

For this project, Tank recording engineers Samantha Wade and Michael Van Wagoner became “Diffusionists,” a term coined by avant garde French sound artist Pierre Henry, for artists whose practice is the projection and the spreading of sound in an acoustic space, with the aim of enhancing “the dynamic, spectral and spatial content of the musical material already present in the work.”

The site for the installation was a wooded area between two bridges over the Yampa River. The two set up four Meyer Sound speakers, each playing a channel discreet to one of the instruments of the quartet.

Samantha Wade noted, “On the bridge next to the Yampa, the busiest bridge, people would stop and take a moment, gazing out at the mountain with their arms rested, then carrying on about their day with more mindful expressions.  Dogs wagged their tails as their owners slowed at the sound, and even squirrels stopped to listen.”

Here is a short video of the installation.  We hope to take the Slow Beethoven to other locations in the near future and to present the work itself as the first recording on our new Tank record label.




The Tank and the West

Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison

On Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 8pm, in the high desert of Colorado, the guitarist and composer Bill Frisell and the filmmaker Bill Morrison charged the Tank’s extraordinary structure with a live sound and image performance. Exploring its history as an embodiment of the American West, Frisell created an original score and Morrison projected film images on the stark landscape and the sides of the seven-story tower.

The event was also filmed for a future documentary. Here are a few pics.

This much-anticipated concert featured digitally-mapped projections by Future Lighting of Los Angeles. Highlighting the town of Rangely, Colorado, this event was supported by major grants from the Neil D. Karbank Foundation, the William H. Donner Family Foundation, and the ArtWorks program of the National Endowment for the Arts.


Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison in the TANK

Bill Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 40 years and many celebrated recordings, whose catalog has been cited by Downbeat as “the best recorded output of the decade.”

“Frisell has had a lot of practice putting high concept into a humble package. Long hailed as one of the most distinctive and original improvising guitarists of our time, he has also earned a reputation for teasing out thematic connections with his music… There’s a reason that Jazz at Lincoln Center had him program a series called Roots of Americana.” – New York Times

Valentine, is his latest recording on Blue Note, a trio album with Thomas Morgan (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums) that has been hailed as “a masterpiece” by Downbeat.  “They consistently and strikingly play as one, voices intertwined, completing phrases as if sharing a single thought… Even overdubs are so perfect that everything feels utterly organic… the performances represent jazz playing at its most sublime.”  Valentine is his second recording for the Blue Note label released August ’20 during the height of the pandemic. 

Recognized as one of America’s 21 most vital and productive performing artists, Frisell was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist in 2012. He is also a recipient of grants from United States Artists and Meet the Composer, among others.  In 2016, he was a beneficiary of the first FreshGrass Composition commission to preserve and support innovative grassroots music.  When San Francisco Jazz opened their doors in 2013, he served as one of their Resident Artistic Directors.  Bill is also the subject of a documentary film by director Emma Franz, entitled Bill Frisell: A Portrait, which examines his creative process in depth.  He has received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.

Bill Frisell’s Management
Songtone LLC – Phyllis Oyama, Lee Townsend

Bill Morrison is an American, New York-based filmmaker and artist. His films often combine rare archival material set to contemporary music, and have been screened in theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, and concert halls around the world. Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1965, Morrison had a mid-career retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2015. He is a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and has received the Alpert Award in the Arts, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants. His theatrical projection design with Ridge Theater has been recognized with two Bessie Awards and an Obie Award. Morrison has collaborated with some of the most influential composers and performers of our time, including John Adams, Gavin Bryars, Bill Frisell, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Henryk Górecki, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kronos Quartet, David Lang, Steve Reich, & Julia Wolfe, among many others. Decasia (2002), his feature length collaboration with composer Michael Gordon, was selected by the Library of Congress to its National Film Registry in 2013, becoming the first film of the 21st century selected to the list. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) was included on numerous critics’ lists of the best films of the decade (2010s), including Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and Vanity Fair.

Other TANK Activities in 2021

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts returned to a normal schedule for its 2021 season, starting May 1. Last year, while the Tank’s activities were disrupted by the pandemic, the organization put an emphasis on bringing the sonic experience of the Tank to audiences online. We continued these programs in 2021, too. 

Open Saturdays

Free public visiting hours from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays until Oct. 31.

Put Your Head in the Tank

Put Your Head in the Tank is a new program, using binaural head microphones, that allows a listener anywhere to be immersed in the Tank. If you’d like to experience the Tank remotely, or even record via this program, write us at info@tanksounds.org. 

The Tank Masters Series

The Tank Masters Series, concerts by artists who have proven most skilled at playing the instrument that is the seven-story water tank, presented new music via the Tank’s website, tanksounds.org. 

Book the Tank

The Tank’s program of recording sessions returned, as did the regular booking of non-recording visits. For more on reserving the Tank for your session or group, click here.