Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 09:38 UK

Portishead are back in the studio

By Rodrigo Davies
6 Music News reporter

Geoff Barrow from Portishead
Portishead won the Mercury Music Prize in 1995 with their debut Dummy

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.

If it comes to fruition, it would be a surprisingly rapid return for the band, who left 11 years between their second and third records, resurfacing in 2008.

But Barrow told BBC 6 Music the trio had already discussed new song ideas.

"We're going to start writing and if all goes well it could be [out] in a year's time," the musician said.

"That would be the most perfect thing to do."

Barrow said that Portishead, who aren't currently bound by a recording contract, were 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

Barrow added that he and band-mates Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley had discussed Portishead's long-term future after the release of Third in 2008.

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

Recently the Bristol-based producer/instrumentalist completed an album with another trio, 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 - reflected in the title, Recordings 05/01/09 > 17/01/09 - without any overdubbing after the original performance.

Barrow said he was inspired by the avant-garde Dogme 95 doctrine, as advocated by film director 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 Paul Horlick.

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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