This Pete Townshend produced double CD provides yet another outlet for variations on his endless, but endlessly fascinating â€śLifehouseâ€ť project. For â€śMethod Music,â€ť composer Lawrence Ball was given access to some of Townshendâ€™s original loops, as well as creating his own via software that was briefly available to all on one of Peteâ€™s websites. After all these years, the idea of the body and its biorhythms as pure music is still compelling.
Disc One, â€śImaginary Sitters,â€ť starts off with â€śMeher Baba Piece,â€ť which builds off of the original data inputs that resulted in the Whoâ€™s â€śBaba Oâ€™ Rileyâ€ť which is then fragmented and looped with other, more shimmering minimal tones. This initial pulse is further explored in â€śVictoriaâ€ť and â€śSitter 10.â€ť â€śSitter 12â€ť and â€śSitter 13â€ť are more melodic and metallic, with a sharp ambient foundation; other â€śSitterâ€ť tracks recall the insistence of mid-80s techno, but without the grooves. â€śSitter 16â€ť is propulsive, tangerine dream-like cold intensity.
The second disc â€śImaginary Galaxies,â€ť features three twenty minute tracks, each an elegy to a creative body whose natural music is silenced.
â€śGalaxy 01 (for the late Syd Barrett)â€ť is suitably restrained and melancholy, yet it is also celestial and full on hidden wonder; a haunting and elegiac piece. â€śGalaxy 02 (for the late Hugh Hopper)â€ť is more cinematic, with the orchestral and electronic combining for a baroque but minimalist ambient tightrope; the vibes and string section in particular make this memorable.
Finally, â€śGalaxy 03 (for the late Georgy Ligeti)â€ť is a deliberately paced, almost abstract soundscape, yet again with a tone of soaring freedom; in fact all three pieces suggest that the resting place of each of these artists is a place of relief and awe.
Overall, â€śMethod Musicâ€ť bears little resemblance to the many descriptions of â€śLifehouseâ€ť that Pete Townshend has offered over the years. Or maybe this just reflects the latest focus. In any event, Lawrence Ballâ€™s deft and soulful loops and soaring melodies create a mood of freedom mixed with melancholy, of limits that are both binding and temporary.