Presented by FUNDAMENTAL


    BURNING MAN // DEEP PLAYA // WEDNESDAY // 7:00pm - 8:30pm

    Fundamental presents a mystical evening of cosmic proportions—an event too massive for anywhere other than the Playa.

    At sunset, Alexandre Tannous will inspire the community around the spiritual aspects of meditation and sound. He will play a series of ancient and new instruments and recordings that positively affect the spiritual growth of all living beings.

    Once the darkness sets in, Paolo Montiel will perform an innovative light show influenced by sacred geometry and the golden spiral. The sound meditation music will then slowly blend into Mayan Warrior DJ sets that will drive attendees into a night filled with magical sounds and lights.



    The sound meditation is an integrated practice combining a shamanic ceremonial setting with an Eastern emphasis on breathing exercises and visualization. Specific musical instruments allow participants to use sound as a therapeutic tool to disconnect from discursive thinking and delve into a transcendental state. The goal is to enable participants to disengage their undesirable habitual patterns and to empower positive cognitive change. Most of the instruments played in a Sound Meditation are overtone-emitting. They include gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, bells, and metallic discs, among others, and have been used in meditation and sound healing for centuries across many cultures, and continue to be used.


    Sound emitted by musical instruments, the voice, or any other source is very complex and can be thought of as an infinite sum of waves of different frequencies. The pitch, or tone, that we hear and identify has various components. These components are the fundamental frequency and the overtones, or harmonics, and sometimes called harmonic overtones, which are the natural parts of that pitch. The relative strength or weakness level of these overtones determines the tone color, or timbre, of the pitch allowing us to distinguish the sound of a note played on a flute from the sound of the same register note played on a violin, or distinguishing one person’s voice from an other. The fundamental frequency is much louder than the harmonics which is why we hear it as a single pitch. These overtones start to become clearly audible to our ears when we hear the sound emitted by metallic instruments such as gongs, Tibetan bowls and other overtone-emitting instruments.


    The harmonic overtone series is a serious subject of study for not only musicians but also for mathematicians and physicists who are specialized in acoustics which is the study of sound and sound waves. All the notes of scales, modes, and harmonic systems in the world came out of the harmonic series. This series is an inexhaustible set of probabilities, and a blueprint for sound production.


    Westerners often note that some of these overtones from these instruments sound quite foreign and out of tune to them. Here’s why: In the 16th century, the West created a tuning system that we still follow called the equal temperament, which essentially divided the musical octave into 12 equidistant half steps (the half step is the distance between a black and the adjacent white key on the piano). Most ancient musical cultures in the world did not adopt this system that we’ve become so used to in the West. So what’s unique about the sound meditation is that participants are immersed in the sounds of nature’s true harmony.


    Psychoacoustics is the study of the perception of sound. This includes how we listen, our psychological responses, and the physiological impact of sound on the human nervous system.

    At the beginning of every sound meditation, Alexandre shares various findings from his research about sound’s therapeutic properties and psychoacoustic power, overtones, the instruments he uses, as well as explaining to them their role as active participants. The aim of each talk is to give participants context to better understand what they’re about to experience, to gain awareness, and to use sound as a useful tool.


    Alexandre has been an active musician, educator, composer, and ethnomusicologist. He holds a Bachelor of Music with a double major in Music Theory and Composition, and a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University Teachers College. As a recipient of the Mellon Fellowship he also earned a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy degrees in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University where he was enrolled in the PH.D. program. He has taught various music courses at the same institution.


    Alexandre has conducted ethnomusicology fieldwork for 18 years in over 40 countries. His research investigates issues of acculturation, community, musical identity in an urban setting, and the concepts of talent, charisma, and leadership in music.

    For the past 11 years he has been researching the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives - Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs - to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness. This search has led him to the intersection where art, science and spirituality meet. His approach entails a social scientific study of sound use in several traditional contexts—religious, spiritual, holistic, and cultural—for various purposes and occasions in entertainment, worship, meditation, and rituals of healing and trance.

    The material he transmits about sound is based on thorough research over many years: observations he made during his fieldwork, scientific studies, personal experiences, and data collected from thousands of people he has worked with doing sound therapy. This has led him to a deeper understanding of how sound reveals and unlocks hidden powers we have within us to promote profound inner changes and healing.

    Inspired by his findings, he designed a protocol of an integrated experience he calls “Sound Meditation” in which he shares the findings from his research, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns while judiciously listening to the specific traditional instruments he plays. He employs a phenomenological approach to study the effects of sound, using a method that empowers the participants to engage actively with tools that enhance their experience, using the consciousness-altering properties of sound to heighten self-awareness, to connect to the higher self, to fine-tune self-observation, and to attain self-realization.


    Paolo is a lighting designer / Artist based in Mexico City.


    He’s the director of Nerd Light, a company that does architectural light design (Architainment), Live Entertainment Design (Culturetainment), Show Control, Architectural Audio and Interactive Installations.


    Paolo has studies in physics, music and lighting applied in each of the installations in which he participates, as well as in the control of LED lighting. He has collaborated in Mexico closely on projects by artist James Turrell.



    Mayan Warrior is the result of a collaborative project that has united artists, craftsmen, photographers, designers, technologists, architects and musicians from Mexico City and Northern California.

    The project’s original intent was to present to the world the incredible ascent of contemporary Mexican electronic music while paying respect to the deep and ancient sources from which that visual and auditory culture had grown.

    Both light and sound are curated by some of the world’s most prominent artists to transport participants to the very origins of the culture – and to a new understanding of contemporary electronic expression.



    Sample some of the hypnotic sounds created by Alexandre Tannous



    Fundamental is a continuous crowdfunding and awareness initiative supporting the groundbreaking research into treating mental illnesses with psychedelic-assisted therapies being done by leading scientists around the world.