It was love at first note.
Sunday, January 31st 2021, 6:30am. It’s 15º Fahrenheit outside and a blizzard is approaching fast. We have to drive 3 hours hoping this place still exists. It’s a massive abandoned and rusty water tower in the middle of nowhere. My friend Zach thinks he remembers a small round opening on the side, large enough to crawl through. Will a handpan get in? Will we get in? We have to try.
At some point, we cross the border into New York State but it’s all small roads out in the countryside anyways so we don’t really know. But then all of a sudden we see it towering in the distance. This thing is huge, at least 30-meters tall, rising above the leafless tree canopy in a frozen winter landscape. Eaten by rust over decades of neglect, the structure that was once painted white is now oozing with orange and brown stains of rust. It sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s impressive. The anticipation is real as we are now arriving at its feet. There is snow on the ground. Everything is quiet and there is not a soul in sight. We’re going in.
I wish you could hear our hysterical laugh as we find the small valve on the side. It’s perhaps 20 inches-wide, just large enough for a small Hang to get through. What follows is hard to describe. It’s pitch black (but slowly our eyes are adjusting). We’re inside a perfect metal cylinder with nothing except a sketchy-looking ladder on one side, reaching all the way to the top of the dome where a dot of light is piercing through the dark. Down where we are, the ground is covered in orange rust powder and the slightest sound creates a symphonic explosion bouncing off endlessly. I count a 10-second reverb at least. Time to hit the ”record” button.