Pitchfork just gave a glowing review for Lawrence Ball’s new album “Method Music” as part of their in-depth feature story entitled “Making Overtures: The Emergence of Indie Classical: An examination of the ever-melding worlds of indie and classical music,” proclaiming it to be “wondrous, rippling, and startlingly tactile music.”
Here’s the full “Method Music” album review from the feature…
Lawrence Ball: Method Music
The sexy lede buried beneath the almost comically dry title of this record is twofold. 1) It is a collaboration between the mathematician/composer Lawrence Ball and Pete Townshend, and 2) It represents the at-least-partial realization of one Townshend’s most dearly held fantasies, a rock opera called Lifehouse that was to use synthesizers as a way to to produce music tailor-made to a specific user’s input. The Lifehouse project is one of those Smile-like ideas that tend to strand grand-thinking rock musicians on sharp rocks, but the idea involved creating musical software that would be free to users, who would feed the software specific input and watch as it produced a brand-new piece of music specifically for them.
Because it’s always better to take a person for a ride in a sports car than to spend hours detailing the features of its engine, Ball and Townshend show you exactly how the process feels: the lead-off cut on this monumental two-disc set is “Baba O’Riley”, fed through Ball’s software. What emerges on the other end is wondrous, rippling, and startlingly tactile music. There is no math in the listening: It’s like watching a brightly colored pinwheel turn faster and faster until it appears suddenly to revert in the other direction.