The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, an empty steel water tower turned music venue in Rangely, boasts an abundant amount of resonance, making it one of the state's standout places to perform and record music.
Flautist James Marienthal recorded Alive Inside the Tank there with Mysteries of the Night, his duo with vocalist and percussionist Sarah Gibbons, and the group released the album on Silver Wave Records, a Boulder Grammy-winning Native American and new-age imprint he founded in 1986.
Alive Inside the Tank is the first full-length album recorded in the venue that has been released into worldwide mainstream distribution. Proceeds from album sales will be donated to the TANK Center for Sonic Arts.
"The experience of being in the Tank while you're playing the music and feeling this sound kind of swirling around you — it's almost like there's a physical effect of feeling it vibrating through your whole body, which actually generates a musical response to what you're hearing and feeling when you play," Marienthal says. "We wouldn't have been able to hear and feel that same kind of energy anywhere else."
Marienthal, who plays Native American and silver flutes on the album, says it's a transcendental experience sitting in the TANK.
"You just realize everything slows down, because when you're making sound, there's just this natural reaction, like you hear it resonating for such a long time that you want to wait," he says. "You want to listen to it as long as it lasts without doing anything else. It's something that you kind of feel and learn by being in there, just to move slow, to be quiet, [and] if you're playing music, to play very slow. Let the sounds do what they're going to do without interfering with them too much."
While Marienthal brought a few flute melodies that he'd composed to the session at the TANK, most of what ended up on the album are improvisations. He says he thought the pre-composed pieces weren't as interesting as the music that happened spontaneously in the TANK, "because it is a lot about how you feel and how you respond to it when you're in there. It's more important than anything you might plan ahead of time."
Mysteries of the Night Album Release Party, 7 p.m. meet-and-greet followed by a 7:45 p.m. mini-concert, Wednesday, March 14, Nevei Kodesh, 1925 Glenwood Drive, Boulder. Admission is by suggested donation to the TANK Center for Sonic Arts, sliding scale, $5 to $20.