From Dexter Payne


The tank taught me a lot about sounds, and not in a book way. Overtones, too. I play only one note at a time. Have always loved stairwells, parking garages, etc. for their resonance, even wooden dance halls that grab the woodwinds and roll the sound around the walls. The tank was like a candy store for this kid! And pitch, the tank has its own overtone structure (very complex!) and if you play a note close to the tank’s heart… it takes it and bends it. I love that.

After a couple of trips out to the tank, I thought I was done with it, over it (it’s a long haul over there!) My musical life got busier, not time for such goofing off.

I thought I had learned the lessons available for me there – imagined I was craving more natural spaces.

Then the gathering last year (I missed it) and now the coalescing of energies to anchor this as an available sound space. I got out the recordings I had made there – dusty, unedited and raw, and started listening. (Still no luck finding the clarinet/walkie-talkie duet with McCoin.)

I fell in love all over again! Or maybe I should say I fell in awe. I find with the perspective of time I hear it with new ears. There is much more for me to learn from the tank, and I am excited to plan my next trip there. Thanks to Bruce, to Michael, who introduced me to the biggest instrument I’ll ever play, to Mark, who reminded me of the ageless brotherhood of music and sound, and all of you who are really making this happen.

I am truly excited to have the Tank as a permanent sound environment, to be a kid in it, and to introduce others for their enjoyment, edification, and artistic expression. Many hands make light work – let’s all pull this together and have it for all time! The dinosaurs are dead, the oil fields are played out and polluted, but the Tank will reverberate forever!

Listen:  Dexter’s “Prelude” in the Tank.

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