Palm Reading – Malibu: Point Mugu Review


Nature is the best designer, no doubt about that. We recognize intuitively lines, patterns, and structures that are inspired by the natural world. This is perhaps why “Malibu: Point Mugu” by Palm Reading – the new musical project by Skooby Laposky and Charles Copley – feels like such a breath of fresh air. Both the production and the result represent a creative and bold move for meditation music. It takes the whole genre in a new and more sustainable direction – in little more than 15 minutes. That is a triumph!

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The goal of Palm Reading is to “give plants a voice.” Instead of releasing traditional “albums,” each release will be regarded as a location. Laposky and Copley write: “The recordings are a combination of synthesized electronic music generated by biodata recorded from plants using a biodata sonification device, as well as ambient field recordings and original acoustic guitar accompaniment.” By googling, I learned that Bio-sonification means using technology to turn the bio-rhythms of living organisms into sound. Biodata Sonification is a process to translate complex real-time sensor data into musical notes and controls. Thanks to bio-sonification – and Palm Reading! – we get to hear two plants “on location”; white sage and laurel sumac.

Charles Copley and Skooby Laposky on location

White Sage (Salvia Apiana)
The moment you hit play on White Sage (Salvia Apiana), you will be greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere. The sounds of birds chirping, wind, and light guitar are delightful. But more prominently is a deep and rich sound that is hard to describe but easy to enjoy. The white sage, connected to the biodata sonification device, creates an ambient melody that is calming and inspiring. I also love the guitar improvisation; it adds a human touch.

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Another thing to notice is the bio-rhythm. It is not like a drum beat, but it is still something that we recognize. It is almost like a gentle morse code, representing life and movement. This is, as I mentioned above, one of nature’s patterns. On “White Sage (Salvia Apiana),” it is both melody and rhythm. I find it highly meditative.

Next out is White Sage (Salvia Apiana) Interlude. It is a one-and-a-half-minute bridge that rounds off the first part and prepares the stage for the show’s next star, Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina). This eight-minute-long piece is a bit darker and more reflective. It is as if Mother Earth herself is talking, or perhaps whispering is a better description. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

I must also mention the recording quality. Malibu: Point Mugu creates a room of sound, making it easy to envision being on the Pacific Coast in Ventura County. This wonderful location feels close enough to touch – even if you listen to Palm Reading on another continent. It is an immersive listening experience in every sense of the word.

In conclusion: Many have told me that they find meditation music uninspired and boring. Like all music genres, it needs fresh ideas and new talents. I believe Palm Reading represents just that. I don’t understand how the biodata sonification device works, but that is not necessary either. As I wrote above, we intuitively recognize elements from the natural world, and when you start listening to Malibu: Point Mugu, that feeling is there in abundance. It is a kind of déjà vu, really.

Malibu: Point Mugu is, in sum, a superb and extremely promising first release by Palm Reading! Explore and experience what a beautiful place this is. Hopefully, Skooby Laposky and Charles Copley will invite us to more locations like this!

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