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.
Pete Townshend, in his studio, explains how he achieved the “arpeggiated” organ sound from the classic Who track, Won’t Get Fooled Again by running the organ through the filter of an Electronic Music Studios EMS Synthi VCS3, aka The Putney,
The Who’s Pete Townshend, with the help of mathematician and composer Lawrence Ball and software engineer David Snowdon, has created a computer system called The Method which allows users to make unique pieces of music created by inputting personal information, sounds and a rhythm. Users will ‘sit’ for the software in the same way a person would pose for a portrait painting, and the compositions created will be posted on the site.
Townshend plans to use the music created on the web on the next Who album as long as his bandmate Roger Daltrey gives the project the go-ahead.
Speaking at the launch of The Method yesterday (25.05.07), Townshend said “When I first had this idea John Entwistle and Keith Moon were still alive and in the band. They were very dismissive of it.”
“But today, The Who is just me and Roger Daltrey. If I was going to work with this idea, I would want to do it full on and if Roger was into it then I don’t see why we couldn’t make an album.” Continue reading