Music As Identity With The Lifehouse Method

A project by The Who's Pete Townshend allows people to create their own musical identity through music. The Method is an Internet-based software...

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
Piers Fawkes, PSFK on April 26, 2007. @piers_fawkes

A project by The Who’s Pete Townshend will allow people to create their own musical identity through music. The Method is an Internet-based software program that enables the user — or “sitter” – to generate music from unique, inputted data. The sitter can upload four strands of personal information into the system, consisting of a digital photo, a rhythm, a sound and a voice.

The project was the culmination of an idea which had percolated since his art school days in the 1960s. The concept was first introduced in the early 1970s via music intended for the Townshend-penned Lifehouse song cycle and planned concept album, which eventually morphed into the Who’s Who’s Next album.

The first proper try at this – which sustained Townsend’s idea – formed the beginning of the Who classic “Baba O’Reilly”. (The intro came from the biorhythm of Meher Baba, Townsend’s spiritual advisor.) Music composed through the Method’s technology proper formed the basis of the track “Fragments” on the most recent Who album, Endless Wire.

The project will go live on May 1st. The site reads:

The Method is software that creates music, allowing you to ‘sit’ for a musical portrait just as if you were being painted. The software ‘paints’ your music. It will only take a few minutes of your time.

Once you’ve completed your registration, you will be entitled to 3 free portrait sittings and free access to this website until July 31st, after which time you will be offered the option to continue access to this site on a subscription basis. During this first 3 month period, though, please enjoy The Method free of charge.

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.

There’s an album of musical portraits Pete Townshend has already recorded already out. Samples can be found on the MySpace page.

Lighthouse Method