Method Music is the direct result of an idea created almost 40 years ago and presented as a crucial narrative mechanism in a sophisticated, advanced multimedia fiction, a deceptively simple concept that would play an important role in one of the most written-about, deeply analysed, obsessed-over musical phenomena in 20th century music.
It is also an exploration by Lawrence of the theoretical and musical potential of the idea of musical portraiture, a further refinement of his own compositional techniques, and a proof of concept for what is known as the Lifehouse Method.
Launched in 2007 and operated for 15 months until being placed in temporary stasis, the Lifehouse Method is a system created by Pete Townshend and implemented with Lawrence Ball and software designer Dave Snowdon which realises a concept first explored in Townshend’s Lifehouse project wherein participants’ (“sitters”) personal data are analysed and used to create a unique musical portrait.
The Method itself is the software that creates the music, allowing you to “sit” for a portrait just as if you were being painted, and its users created over 10,000 pieces of music during its operation. As outlined on the Lifehouse Method site at the time of its launch, “After you’ve sat for your Method portraits, you can download them, play them back at your leisure, share them with your friends, compare them, noticing the similarities and differences between them, which will vary according to your input into the process. You may not like them, you may love them, you may prefer one to the other two, but, whatever your reaction, they will be authentic portraits, unique to you, based on the information gathered by your interaction with the Method software.”