Lawrence Ball: Method Music (Navona) 

Few fans of the Who know or care about all that's been going on in Pete Townshend's intensely busy mind. Those who do may have followed the episodic progress of his utopian Lifehouse project, which resurfaced memorably around 2006 with his effort to synthesize a mass of original music gathered online. From everybody.

Similarly, you can pop in Lawrence Ball's Method Music, and let it subdue your morning without concerning yourself with its provenance, philosophy or connection to Townshend's epic fantasies. It's an enjoyable, beautiful conception of future's promise—and a fairly convincing antidote to the seemingly prevailing dystopian vision as might be performed by, say, John Zorn.

Its sound is a generous portent of integrated diversity, as represented by the adaptation of mostly synthesized sound into something like scored, orchestral rock with a comfortingly organic feel. It will not be sharing the easy-listening format, however—at least not in the current radio mix. The percussion is too smart, the tempo shifts too unpredictable. It rewards intentional listening in a way more often found in jazz or classical music, which it also decidedly is not.

Method Music also takes a long time to play; I kept wishing I were on a long drive through, say, Indiana or North Dakota, surrounded by monotonous territory. But it is, in fact, more interesting if you take the time to look into its Lifehouse roots, and, if nothing else, its connection to the Who song "Baba O'Riley." Hint: Visit another Townshend project at www.meherbabafilm.com.


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