Solstice 2020


For sunset, at 8:48pm in the high desert of Colorado, we’re playing excerpts of concerts from prior Solstices in the Tank, including “When The TANK Swallows the Sun,” Joshua Hill’s contemplative soundbath with ambient drones and electro-acoustic violin, and the unique sonic experience of the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, singing in a thunderstorm on Solstice, 2017. Plus other delights. Scroll down for descriptions of each selection.

Tanksounds · 2020 Solstice Playlist (Evening)

All the Bells that Can Ring

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in

                                              –Leonard Cohen

Bruce Odland explains, “Well, for the Solstice that year [2017], we visited WC Streigel’s epic scrapyard in Rangely, where grand steel objects were rusting in the boneyard of the giant pipeline industry that serves the energy needs of America.   In the hot sun we lifted everything we could lift, striking with steel and collecting all the ringing tones that pleased us. We filled the bed of our rented pickup. Later that night, after the Solstice concert, the audience chose their sounding steel objects, and took them into the Tank to play an improvised gamelan concert, guided by a sense of togetherness, listening, and a planetary connection to the solar events of the day.” This track is the result.

Sunset on the Rio Blanco near the Tank

Ron Miles: Cornet Tanksong 3

In addition to leading his own bands, Ron Miles has performed in the ensembles of Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, Mercer Ellington, Don Byron, Myra Melford, Joe Henry, Madeleine Peyroux, Jason Moran, Matt Wilson, the Bad Plus, Harriet Tubman, Ginger Baker, and Ben Goldberg. This track is also from the concert Ron played for the 2018 Solstice Festival at the Tank.

Ron Miles in the Tank

Roomful of Teeth: my heart comes undone by Judah Adashi

The music critic Alex Ross attended the 2017 Solstice at the Tank and later, writing in the New Yorker, described the moment you’ll hear in this track. “Roomful of Teeth began to sing ‘my heart comes undone,’ by the Baltimore-based composer Judah Adashi–a rapt meditation that draws elements from Björk’s song “Unravel.” A moment later, the storm broke. Gusts buffeting the exterior created an apocalyptic bass rumble; lashes of rain sounded like a hundred snare drums. The voices bobbed on the welter of noise, sometimes disappearing into it and sometimes riding above. As Adashi’s music subsided, the storm subsided in turn. In my experience, music has never seemed closer to nature.”

There is a Fire

Samantha Wade has spent more time singing in the Tank than anyone. Her grandmother Barbara Wade was the Keeper of the Tank Key for many years after its sonic qualities were discovered in 1976, so Samantha sang in the Tank often as a child, and is now known as the Voice of the Tank.  She is the Tank’s Resident Engineer and its longest serving employee. She knows how sound travels in the Tank, how the microphones pick up the sound inside, and how her voice activates the sonic geometry like no one else’s.  She recorded this song as a Featured Artist of the Detour 360 tour of Colorado in 2019. The song came spontaneously out of the ethers, fully formed in one take, poetry and all.  

The Tank at Night Photo by Conrado Quezada Escandón

Joshua Hill: When The TANK Swallows The Sun

An hour before sunset on the summer solstice of 2019, Joshua Hill performed as The Mystic Cowboy, playing on his Magic Fiddle on this track, called “When The TANK Swallows The Sun.” It’s meant as a contemplative sound bath, to nurture the oncoming darkness.  Finishing his set as the sun set on the horizon, The Mystic Cowboy left the Tank and hiked up the ridge towards the pastel hue of the sky, still playing his violin. Over the ridge he was greeted by the poofy seeds of a dandelion flower promising rebirth, as the earth slowly faded into night. 

The Mystic Cowboy and his Magic Fiddle

Bruce Odland: Glory Wheel

In 1976, on a Chautauqua Tour of small towns in Colorado, Bruce Odland accidentally discovered the magnificent sonic environment of a seven-story water tank in Rangely. He’s been coming back ever since. In 1985 Bruce started working on a long format concept album called “Leaving Eden.”  He used early digital portable gear to record written pieces and improvisations in a series of location recordings at the Tank, exploring the theme of looking back on the memory of our lost beautiful blue green planet Earth.  This piece, Glory Wheel, is a moment of intense celebration, with Tanksters chanting, Mark Fuller playing Tabla, and the addition of the Colorado Children’s Chorale.  

Starry Sky above the Tank Photo: Jeremiah Moore

To see and hear all all our sonic selections for Solstice,
Dawn, Noon and Sunset,
click here.

The 2020 Solstice Festival at the Tank
is wholly sponsored by
Colorado Creative Industries