CoSM Celestial Celebration- Summer Solstice Review

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For lovers of art, music and life itself, the word is out. The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, or CoSM as it is lovingly known, has been a sanctuary for the creative community of the east coast since it’s inception. Thousands of beings have made the pilgrimage to these sacred grounds: a modern mecca for honoring the beauty, love and sense of community that defines our human condition. Renowned  artists Alex and Allyson Grey are the creators of this property and the benefactors of regular events, through which these individuals extend their home and their vision to the community at large.

I had personally been given the opportunity to visit CoSM once before following an exclusive performance featuring Tipper, which preceded their recent performance with him at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The grounds feature a prodigious white Victorian style home, adorned by the works of Alex and Allyson and their visionary contemporaries. The property is nothing short of surreal- a sort of ethereal compound for the the transformationally inclined. My brief post-performance tour had me hooked. Though the dust had settled and the house was virtually empty, I was taken by this serenity, and overwhelmed by a presence that shook me to my core. There was no doubt in my mind that there was an inexplicable magic about this place, and I knew right away that I would be back for more.

Photography by Lucas Zhao

Photography by Lucas Zhao

Photo by Jason Zhao

Photo by Lucas Zhao

I recently had the great fortune of attending my first CoSM event: the annual Summer Solstice. The event took place on June 20th, and in keeping with the description, aligned with the celebration of the summer solstice. As I was still reeling from the most horrendous winter of my life as a New England native, I felt it only appropriate to wash away my less than pleasant memories of winter and welcome the sunshine with open arms. Wash away we did, as the longest day of the year was shrouded in scattered showers. Naturally this was no deterrent for those who like myself had been awaiting the event with bated breath, as we flocked in droves to make it back. When I had arrived, I quickly realized just what a spectacle this would be, as the grounds had become so filled with eager patrons and partygoers that we were shuttled in from a nearby lot. Everyone on the bus was elated, and idle chatter revealed that many like myself were arriving for their first CoSM event.

As I stepped off the bus, I felt like I was being dropped off at a psychedelic prom, where the crowd was dressed to the

Photography by Lucas Zhao

Photography by Lucas Zhao

nines in transformational attire. Upon entering the home, I dropped my shoes into a vortex of footwear, and it was made apparent that like any misgivings, I could leave my shoes at the door. The home was scattered with attendees, and despite the very large turnout, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I found space and comfort through the entire evening. Burning Man met house party of the year, as each step through the house and yard proved to be more astonishing than the one before it. Tented areas were set up throughout the property to feature art and merchandise as well as to offer sanctuary for socialization, guided relaxation and healing. Every last orifice of the Grey’s property seemed to offer a new and stimulating experience. I found myself questioning whether I was captivated most by the beauty of the property and the art, or by that of each of the radiant individuals I found myself in contact with. Suffice to say, the overall experience of this gathering created a spark that I could feel propelling the vibration of all who were fortunate enough to attend.

The entertainment presented on behalf of CoSM was nothing short of profound. Several of the world’s most talented and forward thinking visionary artists shared their gift with the crowd through live painting that extended until the early morning hours. This included the creation of new works from Canman, John Shook, Joness Jones, Kaliptus, Seth Leibowitz, Deco by NephilNine, and of course, Alex and Allyson Grey. Visual stimulation of the digital variety was in no short supply, as the multidimensional projections of SilentStream offered a psychedelic spin on beloved naturalistic scenes which was aesthetically electrifying. Elaborate fire performances captivated outdoor crowds through the evening, and a camp-style bonfire offered both physical warmth and communal energy for all.

Photography by Lucas Zhao

Photography by Lucas Zhao

Through the constant stream of excitement of this gathering, I will admit that I nearly forgot about the music. Thankfully, some of LostinSound’s finest redirected my attention to the house, where headlining acts were featured in a spacious open area. Through the evening, a collective of artists shared  psychedelic and bass infused tracks with eager fans. Digital Rust presented a funky glitch fusion mixed with low tempo bass which set the crowd off just right. This was complemented by the energetic stylings of Numatik, whose organic glitch-hop beats revved up the audience for a long night of incredible music. In another realm entirely was Living Light, who with her dub infused world rhythms and bass sounds captivated all varieties of CoSM goers. Erothyme stepped in as resident shaman, guiding patrons through a mystical journey incurred by his psychedelic electronic music, ranging from other worldly uptempo to ambient and melodic tribal soundscapes. I was completely enthralled by the range and dynamic of this music, and I was astonished that there was even more to come.

Photography by Lucas Zhao

Photography by Lucas Zhao

D.V.S* is a name that if you don’t already know, you should. Alex and Allyson Grey are well aware of the raw talent presented by this musician, and have featured him at CoSM multiple times. Most recently, D.V.S* hosted a three day music performance and production workshop by which he shared his passion and knowledge for instrumental and electronic music creation with CoSM attendees. D.V.S* played a range of dub and bass infused downtempo, mixing electronic production with classic and contemporary live guitar. There was an organic flow to his sound that speaks to the degree of his musical prowess, and he had the audience engaged through a journey of genres. A few of his sets featured a collaboration with synth-master and producer, Mike McCarthy of the electronic jam band Wobblesauce, and the meld of these musical minds was a sensation for all. The outstanding performance by D.V.S* was followed by the final and headlining event of the evening, the one and only Gaudi.

_Gaudi 2(Lucas Zhao Photo)

Photography by Lucas Zhao

The Italian-born and London-raised musician and producer is in a category all his own. I had personally heard of, but had never seen Gaudi prior to this event, and was dying to know what all the hype was. Needless to say I had my mind completely blown by sheer force of the aural stimulation contained in his deep dub, worldbeat and electronica. The energy of the crowd through his set was phenomenal, and something I have experienced only a handful of times in my life. Quite honestly, it is difficult to contain in words the sheer power of the beats and vocals dropped through his set. Gaudi packed so much intensity into the often mellow reggae sound, that I almost could not believe my ears. The experience of being present for his music was so incredible that it honestly reminded me why we as humans love music. I must say that I especially enjoyed watching Alex Grey get down with the dub rhythms, and the smile on his face spoke for everyone. My inception into the world that is CoSM brought far more than I could ever have dreamed into my reality, and it goes without saying that I will be back soon!

_Gaudi AAg(Lucas Zhao Photo)

Photography by Lucas Zhao

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