Via The Daily Swarm:
“Don’t call them 'projects’ – that makes me angry,” Geoff Barrow says of his sprawling variety of musical endeavors. “They’re bands – call them bands.“ Yes, Barrow remains one of our most outspoken musical iconoclasts – peep, for example, his controversial thoughts on Amy Winehouse – but he has the genius cred to back up the tough talk. You’ve probably heard of Barrow because he is the beatsmith and co-founder, along with vocalist Beth Gibbons and instrumentalist Adrian Utley, of Bristol, England’s electronic-music mavericks Portishead. That particular aspect often overshadows a c.v. that is one of the more vast, exotic, and eccentric in pop music.
As such, in 2009, Barrow joined bassist Billy Fuller and keyboardist Matt Williams as the drummer in the experimental rock trio BEAK>, who released their eponymous self-titled album that year. Dedicated to improvisation, BEAK> landed about as far from the Portishead sound as could be, evoking krautrock greats like Neu!, Can, and Cluster in their raggedly adventurous wanderings and unhinged energy. BEAK>'s second album, 2012’s >> confirmed this was no mere side, erm, project: a masterpiece of rhythmic propulsion and exploratory action-painting synth textures, it proved as vital as any record Barrow has been involved with. True to BEAK>'s independent spirit and sonics, the group released its records on the Invada label, an imprint Barrow set up in Australia to put out challenging music across genres that sit outside the mainstream – releasing everything from metal to folk to strange shit that proves tough to categorize. Barrow indeed remains a moving target, refusing to be pigeonholed in the variety of activities and associations he finds himself involved in. For one, he’s become renowned as a producer, in particular for his involvement in The Horrors’ amazing 2009 artistic breakthrough Primary Colours. Barrow has also entered the cinematic arena, writing much of the original score and serving as music supervisor for the acclaimed 2010 documentary on notorious British artist Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
In addition to the sophomore BEAK> effort, 2012 proved especially fruitful for him. That year he released Drokk: Music inspired by Mega-City One – a brilliantly minimal collection of stark analog electronic soundscapes crafted with partner Ben Salisbury originally intended (and eventually withdrawn) as the soundtrack to the flop sci-fi flop comic adaptation film “Dredd”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dredd. Also in 2012, Barrow went back to his hip-hop roots with Quakers, a collection of raw underground rap beats and rhymes released on the legendary indie label Stones Throw. If he wasn’t busy enough, Barrow recently announced Portishead have not only recently launched a new European tour, the group has also commenced substantial work on their upcoming fourth album. Here, Barrow details the initial inspirations for the varied musical journeys he’s taken on his most unconventional path.