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Portishead return

Bristol trio reveal a fourth album is in the works and could be out in a year

  • 27/09/2009
  • Rodrigo Davies
Portishead's Geoff Barrow in the studio

Portishead are back in the studio working on their fourth album, which they hope to release by the end of 2010, Geoff Barrow has confirmed.

It's set to be a surprisingly rapid return for the Bristol group, who left a gap of 11 years between their self-titled second album and Third in 2008.

Barrow revealed they have started getting some ideas together.

"We're going to start writing and if all goes well it could be in a year's time," he told 6 Music.

That would be the most perfect thing to do," he added. Barrow said that Portishead, who aren't currently bound by a recording contract, are in negotiations with several companies about how to release the album.

He dismissed the idea of the band taking on the duties of a record label themselves.

"It would be a complete nightmare," he said. "It would end in a nervous breakdown.

"[Being without a record deal] is a really lovely place to be for the first time. We're meeting labels and just talking about the future and where the business is going."

"Beth said 'Are we going to do this forever?', and I said, well, yeah, maybe."

Geoff Barrow

What's more, the band are showing no signs of stopping releasing music.

"Beth said 'are we going to do this forever?', and I said, 'Well, yeah, maybe'," said Barrow.

Recently the Bristol-based producer/instrumentalist completed an album with another trio of which he's part, called Beak.

He admitted that their process of recording was a huge contrast to Portishead: "With Portishead there's long periods of thinking, without any ideas.

"It is about progressing music and our problem is that if we don't think we can progress it forward we get stuck in a hole. I think Beak is slightly more forgiving in its ideas. We didn't talk about it much, we just went in and played it. It was quite refreshing really."

The group, which includes Billy Fuller and Matt Williams, made their debut record in 12 days, as per the title, Recordings 05/01/09; 17/01/09, without any overdubbing after the original performance.

Barrow said he was inspired by the 'Dogme 95' series of films, co-founded by Lars Von Trier, to put limitations on the recording process.

Beak's album is out on 19 October on Invada Records, a label that Barrow runs with Portishead producer and engineer Dave McDonald.

Listen to the full interview with Geoff Barrow on The Music Week on 6 Music this Sunday from 1pm or on the iPlayer.

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