During my first Tank trip in the early 1980’s with Bruce Odland, Elton Norwood, and Brian Waters, my previous relationship to the practice of music was fundamentally obliterated. The Tank’s powerful and responsive, reverberant voice quickly made it clear that making sounds in there was not going to be about me, my ego, or my musical abilities. It was all about making sounds in the moment with my cohorts, and hearing those sounds transmuted by the dynamic resonances of the Tank. The experience was more comparable to dancing with a compatible, but somewhat unpredictable ghost-partner than it was about playing music. The more I could let go of my need for systematic musical guidance, the deeper the experience became. Soon, I was no longer trying, or thinking in musical terms. I was being taken on this fantastic ride. It was like surfing thick sonic waves, while at the same time embodying those waves. It was difficult to know who was making what sound and from what direction that sound might be coming from.
Tank as Internal Mirror
In the Tank, everything seems magnified and amplified, including various aspects of self, uncertainty, and of latent personal power. Any sound or movement that one makes in there lasts for at least 20 seconds or so. As a sound-maker, you receive an immediate reverberant feedback response for your every sonic gesture. Within that resonating response is contained a reflection of your spirit at that moment, which in turn gets reflected back to you. If your spirit is honest and open, that openness comes back. If your spirit is confused, closed, or frightened, the Tank will let you know.
Because of this, all Tank experiences are not comfortable. At times I have been swept up by the Tank’s energy and have been carried to unknown states of sonic bliss and freedom. Other times I have been thwarted by my own personal limitations and overwhelmed by the Tank’s vast sonic envelopment. Regardless though, the Tank experience has been one of the most powerful, revealing, and honest occurrences in my personal history. Over the course of my lifetime, the Tank’s resonant lessons have been so fundamentally influential, that at this point, they’re difficult to abstract from my everyday reality.
I am grateful for so many things, including family, friends, meeting the right teachers at the right time, and having the opportunity to experience a high level of human existence. It’s hard to understand how things in life come to you, but I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have learned, with grace, from my friend and mentor, Bruce Odland, my extended family of creative explorers, and to have experienced repeatedly, and ever more profoundly, the lessons of the Tank.
My wish is for everybody who might benefit from the Tank experience, to have the opportunity to
do so. Please help us to make it so.