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Techno Watch

June 08, 1997|Steve Hochman

The other shoe in the dance music record-contract sweepstakes is about to drop. England's Underworld, considered the top available act after Prodigy was snapped up by Maverick in a deal that could total more than $5 million, is in the home stretch of negotiations with three companies. Sony's Columbia Records is said to be the favorite, with Warner Bros. and Virgin also in the running, and the offers are believed to be even larger than the Prodigy contract--though this one would also include financing and distribution for Junior Boys Own, the group's British label.

But Underworld may take its time.

"There's no hurry from our side," says Underworld manager Geoff Jukes. "We're waiting for [Junior Boys Own] to finish their discussions with labels and see where it goes."

Techno-watchers generally consider Underworld not to have the same potential for massive impact that is predicted for Prodigy. But Underworld did make tremendous inroads with "Born Slippy," from the "Trainspotting" soundtrack, and "Pearl's Girl," a recent club and radio favorite drawn from its much-praised 1996 album "Second Toughest in the Infant."

Underworld also has a chance for widespread exposure through "Moaner," a track on the "Batman & Robin" soundtrack, though the original plan to have Michael Stipe sing the vocals fell through due to scheduling conflicts.

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