Well here’s an interesting story about an above ground storage tank that you don’t hear everyday. As reported by the Denver community paper Westword, an old tank in Rangely, Colo. is being used as a recording studio for music–and much more.
The tank was originally moved to Rangely in the 60s to store water for industrial use. It was never used for that purpose and was abandoned. Local teens began using it as a hangout spot. Then, for over 30 years, small groups of musicians experimented with the unusual sound properties of what became known as The Tank. They would enter through an 18-inch hole and borrow power from local houses, using hundreds of feet of extension cords.
Recognizing the special acoustics of The Tank, funding was secured in recent years to bring it up to code by installing a proper door, ventilation, lights, sanitation facilities, running power, erecting a fence, and constructing an access road. A converted cargo container was also placed on site to house recording equipment.
Most recently, on February 28, 2016, a Kickstarter campaign ended that raised $61,000 to be used for running educational programs and sponsoring musical projects. “Twenty composers want to do projects. Forty people want to join a Rangely-specific community around the Tank. It’s pretty extraordinary,” says artist Bruce Odland in the Westword article.
So what is the future plan for The Tank? “First, some rest,” says Odland. “Then we get the money delivered. Then we assess how to operate the entity, and we do need folks to help us run it. Creating stuff is right up our alley, but now it’s time for some arts administration. The Tank is changing from a cool place to a really interesting and unusual institution, and we want to make it self-sustaining.”
Some educational programs are already beginning in cooperation with the local school district and Colorado Northwestern Community College. Other plans include more school and community outreach, sound-art installations, meditation sessions, artistic residencies, concerts, open houses, curated events, acoustic research and more. Who knows what else they might come up with? There seems to be no limit to the imagination surrounding The Tank.
They’re even fixing up an old Spartan Aircraft aluminum trailer so people will have a place to stay onsite.
One might wonder where the motivation comes from for such an extraordinary achievement. Odland continues, “Let’s face it: when you go inside the Tank and you hear it, it’s so powerful. It opens up an inspiration of very basic creativity that’s within each of us. Something inside happens that says, ‘This is so right.’ And when you come out, you’re part of a new little tribe. I want people to do that, to get involved on a positive, tribal level.
It is quite an amazing thing that an above ground storage tank inspired a spiritual and artistic movement, as well as a community. “If sounds were paintings, the Tank would be the Sistine Chapel,” says Odland.
And you thought above ground storage tanks were only for storing liquid fertilizer and petroleum.
Visit the Tank website and listen to a Tank recording here: http://tanksounds.org/the-tank/