Save the Tank: Musicians unite to preserve an acoustic marvel in northwestern Colorado

Categories: Music News

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Back in 1976, while traveling around northwestern Colorado, composer and musician Bruce Odland was introduced by locals to the Tank, a sixty-foot-tall water tank outside Rangely. Odland used a circular portal to go inside the never-used tank -- and immediately knew he'd entered a very special sonic wonderland. Since that day Odland has embarked on many recordings and performances inside the chamber, where a single note can reverberate and decay for forty seconds or more.

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Originally intended for a railroad project that was never completed, the Tank was eventually acquired by another musician for a dollar and has been put to good use by an eclectic group of enthusiasts -- including jazz trumpeter Ron Miles, percussionist Mark McCoin and "sound artist" Odland -- who call themselves Friends of the Tank.

bruce odland.jpg
Odland.
So far the Tank has weathered rust, graffiti, vandalism and desolation, but the Friends have been hatching a more permanent plan for preservation. They want to add solar power, an Airstream trailer doubling as a control room, outreach to local schools and the Tank Channel, "an online community where we can share what has been and what will be created there with a worldwide audience." So they've launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $42,000; donors can get everything from CDs recorded in the Tank to a chance to record their own sounds there.

"As a vocalist, this has to be one of the most remarkable and unique experiences I have had," singer Lois LaFond says of her experiences in the tank. "The act of 'letting your voice go' is unparalleled when you are in the Tank. I remember the first-time feeling; not only is there a totally pleasant confusion of where your own sound is coming from, but -- more so -- where it is going, what is going to happen to it, where it lands, and with whom. Eyes closed, I would hear a note moving up and around me and I was convinced it was my voice. It wasn't."

Other performers have described the Tank as a place of transformation and inspiration, awesome reverbs, "inner space" and unique acoustical effects. "If sounds were paintings, the Tank would be the Sistine Chapel," says Odland.





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8 comments
mhosalim
mhosalim

The coolest way to go to Ranegely is to go to Loma and drive up Douglass pass. Lots of good can come from this project beyond saving the Tank which is in itself a worthy cause

davidshoemaker15
davidshoemaker15

An amazing spiritual experience!  Nothing less! - anyone who comes in contact with this acoustic space is changed - deeply!!  One of the very few places on earth where a real difference is made spontaneously with you.

davidshoemaker15
davidshoemaker15

An amazing spiritual experience!  Nothing less! - anyone who comes in contact with this acoustic space is changed - deeply!!  One of the very few places on earth where a real difference is made spontaneously with you.

jeremiahmoore
jeremiahmoore

It's really quite rare to have such a wonderful and unique acoustic space dedicated to music, sound, and listening.  Bravo for saving it!

MedbRiley
MedbRiley

After hearing music from the TANK on the tanksounds website (tanksounds.org), it didn't take long for me to find their Kickstarter campaign and become a backer. There just aren't many places in the world to hear sound this way. The fact that we have this amazing vessel in northwest Colorado is a gift we shouldn't let go. Save the TANK! 

bruceodland
bruceodland

Ahhh, the TANK, what an amazing experience it is to make music in the TANK.  Thank you Rangely, Thank you Colorado.  What it is to sing chords with your own voice and have the sound swirl all around you like angels.  There is no other place like it that I've found, and I have looked all over the world.  Sometimes its worth preserving something totally unique.  Join in and SAVE THE TANK.

Ray Koren
Ray Koren

That's pretty cool. I have spent a lot of time working in water towers. The acoustics are insane.

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