The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, a nonprofit recording studio and concert venue situated in northwestern Colorado, has announced the upcoming release of Slow Beethoven on April 28, through Round Sound. This new work features a dramatic reworking of a movement from one of Beethoven’s late string quartets, transformed in a vast empty water tank situated in the high desert region.
Led by renowned cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, Music Director of the National Sawdust Ensemble, a string quartet performs the fugue movement from Beethoven’s “String Quartet #14 in C-sharp minor,” Opus 131 at National Sawdust in Brooklyn. The sounds of their performance are relayed into the Tank, and back into the headphones of the performers, resonating in the Tank’s sonic environment, which can sustain sounds up to 40 seconds, creating a deep, swirling reverb. The quartet slows down the piece drastically to adapt to the extremely resonant space, turning the usual seven-minute movement into a unique 44-minute work.
According to TANK Executive Director James Paul, “This collaboration has created something that is still Beethoven, yet otherworldly. It’s a new sonic and emotional experience of his meditation on grief, resolution and transcendence.” The Tank, made of seven-story COR-TEN steel, has been an empty structure since it was constructed as the shale hill where it was sited could not hold the weight of 600,000 gallons of water. It gained global recognition as a world-class sonic site after sound artist Bruce Odland was introduced to it by locals in Rangely, Colorado in 1976. Today, it is a fully equipped recording venue, concert site and nonprofit arts organization that serves as a haven for the local music community and a unique destination for artists, sonic explorers and curious visitors.
Photo by Kim Keith