Ancient traditions world wide have utilized sound as a journey space to induce trance-like states. The Australian Aborigines speak of a heightened state of consciousness known as “Dream Time” in which the mind becomes so focused and clear that revelations, spontaneous healing, and infinite knowledge can be accessed. “Dream Time” is not achieved through sleep but rather induced by the meditations of chanting, drumming, and dance.
Concerts these days could be considered a highly modernized version of our ancient ancestors’ sound rituals, though factors like drug use and intoxication lessen our potential for experiencing these deeper states of awareness. I’ve had many a marvelous time on the dance floor at concerts under the influence, but my most profound experiences have occurred at a different type of music gathering – one that encourages sobriety.
There is a booming global community of music & dance enthusiasts that come together at something called Ecstatic Dance. Ecstatic Dance is a 2-4 hour dance journey where there is no substance use and no talking on the dance floor. This movement journey grants the space for attendees to physically express themselves as they wish, and make any communication without the use of words.
I’ve been to countless Ecstatic Dance communities all over the world that weave their own creative ideas into the dance. Some encourage bringing food to share at the end. Some have a movement or meditation workshop before the dance. There are varying ways each Ecstatic Dance community creates a safe container for radical expression and collective expansion.
A crucial element to the success of an Ecstatic Dance is, of course, the music! I view the DJ’s and musicians leading the dance as a modern-day shaman, guiding us through a progressive journey into the “Dream Time”. Our muses for this season have each created countless hours worth of music intentionally designed to give listeners the experience of breakthroughs, healings, and activations of the body, mind, & soul. Amani Friend of Desert Dwellers & Liquid Bloom, and Patrick Kiebzak of Momentology, are also both frequent facilitators of Ecstatic Dance, and they each produce music that bridges ancient traditions with modern electronics. Below, we hear from Patrick Kiebzak of Momentology.
‘I said to myself, ‘If I can master Guitar Hero on Expert level, why can’t I master an actual guitar?’ So the next day I asked my mom if I could use her old acoustic guitar. In one dedicated month I learned every TOOL song known to man, from YouTube lessons and guitar tablature sites. By then I was absolutely hooked on guitar.’
Shakti Journal: How would you describe your music to those who have never heard of you before?
Momentology (Patrick Kiebzak): It’s a mix of acoustic instruments & live guitar blended with funky beats, world-electronic elements, & deep bass. It has roots in medicine music, soul, hip-hop, dub & ambient. It’s really a challenge to describe something so diverse and eclectic, so it’s easier if you simply listen and find out.
SJ: What was your initial inspiration for creating music?
Momentology: The initial inspiration goes way back, and it’s very unconventional. I’ve always been musical and I played percussion in middle school and fiddled with guitar in high school, but never really pursued more than that.
One day I purchased Guitar Hero for my Xbox (I’ve always been a gamer) and for a solid 2 months I couldn’t put it down until I completed every song on the Expert level. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of dedication. During this Guitar Hero streak, I went to a concert of one of my favorite bands at the time, TOOL, and when I got home and found myself wanting to play TOOL on Guitar Hero. It turned out they weren’t on any version of the game. But that simple desire to play along to TOOL was the spark that really ignited my musical fire.
I said to myself, ‘If I can master Guitar Hero on Expert level, why can’t I master an actual guitar?’ So the next day I asked my mom if I could use her old acoustic guitar. In one dedicated month I learned every TOOL song known to man, from YouTube lessons and guitar tablature sites. By then I was absolutely hooked on guitar.
SJ: Wow! That is an amazing story. How did you eventually turn your TOOL obsession into a musical career?
Momentology: Shortly after learning the guitar, I started learning electric bass and formed a band with some friends. I ended up being in and out of 4 different bands from 2007-2012. My band phase inspired me to play live music, and compose really great songs. Because the bands I was a part of never stayed together, in 2014 I started Momentology, my current solo project.
These days I regularly collaborate on a variety of projects but am not bound to anybody but myself for live performances or spontaneous musical creation. It’s musical freedom and inspiration at its finest.
SJ: How do you weave your intention for creating music that you shared with us into your live performances?
Momentology: I make sure that during my sets I have songs that touch on all of the aspects that matter to me: nourishment, grace, joy, and dance. So I have a few grounded and earthy tracks with native flute, chanting, frame drums, rattles, etc. I have a few light and happy songs that feel like a breath of fresh air. Then I usually have a lot of fun songs that everyone can really let loose and get down to.
SJ: So often you provide deep experiences for others with your music. Can you recall and describe a moment that your music gave you a transformative experience?
Momentology: This is an easy one for me to recall, because it was one of the most profound evenings of my life. In the summer of 2010 I was in a band called Acrodamus. I produced and played bass, in addition to DJing our tracks live, and my close friend John played guitar and sang. We were an inseparable duo.
We had the idea to have a mini-festival weekend at our friends house a few hours away, with us curating the music. Everyone that we deemed fun was invited. This little 3 bedroom house had over 50 people in it as we started our first set of music. Something magical was in the air that day and everyone could feel it. As we stood there with our setlist laid out and our instruments in hand, I pressed play on our first track.
What followed was over two hours of every emotion that I’ve ever felt, crammed into those two sets of music. That was the first time I’ve really felt an energy exchange between the crowd and us, as the band. I know now that what I am feeling as the DJ is transmitted to the crowd, if they are open to receiving. After that first song, seeing all my friends having such a good time listening to our music, it brought me to a place of extreme happiness. Now every time I perform or DJ, I see everyone out there as my friend, like that night.
SJ: I see Ecstatic Dance communities as a modern version of our ancient ancestors’ ceremonial dance circles. As a frequent facilitator of Ecstatic dances, can you share your experience of participating in these dances?
Momentology: Absolutely! Ecstatic dances serve a huge purpose for a lot of people, myself included. I have been a guest DJ in some communities where Ecstatic dances are held on Sunday mornings, so it is as if the dancers are coming to ‘church.’ But most of the Ecstatic dances I DJ for are in the evenings, after the sun goes down. It’s as if we, as a community, are gathering around an energetic (or actual) fire and dancing for the sake of dancing and connecting with ourselves and our primal nature.
This sacredness creates a huge responsibility for the DJ, so I tend to think about my sets in advance of up to two weeks; I usually have a few genres I like to cover, (such as downtempo, mid tempo funk, up tempo, etc.) and those categories will have one or two songs each. Those couple songs set the tone, and then I allow the energy of the room to guide from there. During the dance itself there is an invitation to be spontaneous; I never have the entire set chosen in advance for this reason.
SJ: How do you want to expand or evolve your live performances?
Momentology: I have put together and am in the testing phases of a live performance rig that allows me to play live guitar, electronic hand drum, and even some live looping during my sets. I play most of my own instruments on my albums, EPs, singles and collaborations, but it’s been a challenge to find an easy and effective way to bring the music to life whilst during live sets.
SJ: Tell us what’s in the works for Momentology! Do you have releases coming soon?
Momentology: Yes! Three releases in the next few months.
1. The Feels is a 15-track album I will be releasing this fall. It’s intended to be used for a 60-minute yoga flow. You could also use it for dancing, qi-gong, exercising, cleaning, doing the dishes, or a party! It’s really versatile and non-invasive.
2. Back To Life is a 20-track album that I co-produced with DJ Taz Rashid, and is meant for a 75-minute yoga flow, with a lot of live instrumentation and good vibes. Taz’s music has been an inspiration to me for many years, and we got connected in 2017. Since then we have both been very inspired to co-create with each other. This will be our second release.
3. Liquid Bloom’s Whispers of our Ancestors (Momentology & Dj Taz Rashid Remixes) are two different remixes for Amani’s Liquid Bloom project that Taz and I have been working on. One will be more tribal house inspired, and the other downtempo yoga-dub. They both cover a lot of ground, from a yin-yoga feeling to a peak ecstatic dance feeling. Exact release date is TBA.
SJ: That all sounds so awesome! Where can our readers stay in tune with you?
Momentology: Follow me on Instagram @momentologymusic to get connected with me and see what I am up to at any given moment. Search ‘Momentology’ on all of the major streaming sites including Spotify, SoundCloud, iTunes, etc. to find my new releases, old releases, and live sets.
SJ: What’s one piece of advice you would give to other musicians or creatives out there?
Momentology: Find something outside of your sphere of expertise to do during your off-time. I love producing music but if I do it too much it gets stale and boring, and I lose inspiration quick. I have found playing Disc Golf is that off-time thing for me. It is the complete opposite of sitting at a computer and making music – it’s being outside, hiking around a park, and throwing plastic at a basket and hoping it goes in. #winning.