Lawrence Ball‘s double CD Method Music is a new collection of generative music that’s inspired by ideas Pete Townshend has explored over the last 40 years, with his Lifehouse project.
Townshend’s Lifehouse had its origin in a sci-fi rock opera, written as a follow up to Tommy. One of the key ideas of the project was that the music would be customized to the characteristics of individual listeners. This was an underlying concept of The Who’s Baba O’Riley.
The original music Townshend wrote for Lifehouse was eventually released on Who’s Next and other albums. But Townshend has remained interested in the idea of music based tailored to listeners.
The tracks on Lawrence Ball’s Method Music represent a modern interpretation of these ideas. Ball implemented Townshend’s ideas using a computerized compositional system called he calls Harmonic Maths.
Here’s an example, Ball’s Sitter 17:
There are two discs in the release. Disc One, ‘Imaginary Sitters’, is a collection of tracks intended to explore the range of generative audio portraiture. On the second disc, ‘Imaginary Galaxies’, Ball creates three long-form pieces, inspired by Syd Barret, Huge Hopper & Gyorgy Ligeti.
“I hope the listener feels as if held in a sonic cradle, watching an intricate musical mobile,” says Ball about Method Music. In this, Ball succeeds, because the music feels intricate and aimless at the same time.
Method Music owes a lot to Terry Riley’s 1964 classic In C – but informed by Ball and Townshend’s experiences in the years since.