Underworld Cooking Up Downloads, Eno Collaboration
Underworld is prepping the third installment in its recently launched Riverrun Project of downloads, which group member Karl Hyde tells Billboard.com "is probably a bit more chilled than the other twoVeteran U.K. electronica act Underworld is prepping the third installment in its recently launched Riverrun Project of downloads, which group member Karl Hyde tells Billboard.com "is probably a bit more chilled than the other two" that have already been unveiled.
So far, Hyde says the response has been overwhelmingly positive for the initiative, which sees Underworld offering up multiple pieces of music combined into one download. Also included are an array of photographs shot by the group.
"This project really offers us the opportunity to group together these vibes in a way we were unable to with a traditional release, which would always channel us toward a mixed bag of sounds," Hyde says of Riverrun. "That was fine for awhile. But then it started to be a constraint."
Hyde says he and partner Rick Smith have more than 180 pieces of music ready to go, but that some of them may wind up being used for Underworld's next studio album, which should be out by early 2007. Although the group is no longer affiliated with longtime label home V2, Hyde says the company has been "very helpful" with the launch of Riverrun.
"We felt it was a great opportunity, the contract being up, not to renegotiate just for a short while," he says. "We're using this time to experiment. It would be very difficult to move as fast as we have within a traditional record company structure."
Up next for Underworld is the score to the film "Breaking and Entering," written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The group is even hoping to stage a few live performances with Minghella and composer Gabriel Yared. "We've been improvising in Abbey Road in a big orchestral studio, using electronics and traditional acoustic instruments from all over the world," Hyde says. "It has opened all of our heads."
Also on the horizon is a tantalizing potential collaboration with electronica legend Brian Eno, who became friendly with Underworld while they were working in Croatia on behalf of the War Child campaign.
"We played him most of the 180 pieces of music in his studio last year and he just started picking up instruments and jamming over the top of them," Hyde says of Eno. "We have a live studio up here in the country. He said, 'Can I come up and bring my gear and jam, and see where it takes us, in terms of a live project?' At that point, we were touring and working on the film. But we've kept this virtual studio alive passing files back and forth and waiting to hear what Brian is doing with our words. When the dust settles after the film, we can think about getting together in one room and improvising."
For now, Underworld has yet to schedule any 2006 live dates, but the pair is already being rumored to make an appearance at April's Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif.
"We are looking for unusual places to play -- special events, like playing on a mountain, or at the ocean or the desert," Hyde says. "Playing at sunrise and sunset, two or three times a day. People can tempt us with cool and interesting places that will inspire not only us but people who come to the show."