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Karl Hyde and Matthew Herbert Release Collaborative Album for FATHERLAND at Manchester International Festival


Fatherland (Original Music from the Stage Show) is a collection of recordings by Underworld's Karl Hyde and producer/artist Matthew Herbert. The songs are based on extracts from the script for Fatherland, a play conceived and written in collaboration by Karl, playwright Simon Stephens (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Punk Rock) and Frantic Assembly's Scott Graham. Premiering at Manchester International Festival this July. Fatherland is a bold, ambitious show about the complexities and contradictions of fatherhood; a vivid, urgent and deeply personal portrait of 21st-century England at the crossroads of past, present and future. The script is based on recorded interviews that took place in Corby, Stockport and Bewdley in 2015 when Graham, Stephens and Hyde undertook a road trip connecting their home towns, gathering stories of fathers and fatherhood from family, friends, and strangers.

Fatherland (Original Music from the Stage Show) features versions of pieces that will be interpreted by the cast of Fatherland (the lyrics are taken from the same original source material captured on that road trip) yet is its own distinctive piece of work - an odd, affecting collection of elegiac, biographies. The album comprises the original recordings made through this unique collaboration between two of British music's most innovative artists, Karl Hyde and Matthew Herbert.

Karl Hyde:
"Fatherland is all about the collecting and re-telling of stories. For the last thirty years, that's what I've done with Underworld. I've sung verbatim the stories I've picked up from the street. Here was the possibility of having complete stories about people we knew, rather than found fragments from strangers.

"I invited Matthew Herbert to collaborate as I love his music and the way he thinks. He works incredibly fast - as do I. Early on, we decided we wanted to create our music from the sounds of objects that reminded us of our fathers and our childhoods. That could be a football bouncing or a set of car keys, a whistle or the sound of a car engine purring. Anything that evoked the idea of childhood and of our fathers. All of the sounds on the record came from digging up those memories.

"The lyrics are taken from the script. When Matthew and I began, we took stories that jumped out at us from the script and built the tracks around them. I'd sing the words verbatim, inspired by the sounds Matthew made - all the ums and ahs are used as they were in the original conversations. As we began translating these ideas into songs, it became very clear that we were making a kind of 21st century folk music."

Matthew Herbert:
"Working with sounds rather than traditional musical instruments allowed us ways not only into new textures, but also to add a layer of storytelling that I think is really useful in this kind of context. For example, we used a pick axe and spade to make the main organ/keyboard noise in Perfect Moment that created both the odd harmonics that were useful in the song writing, and also helped us to remember the manual labour of our grandfathers. It's been rewarding collaborating with Karl and the team on a version of a musical that can accommodate these sounds that manage to sound both familiar and alien at the same time. The cherry on the cake was being able to form that new language with Karl, whose impeccable experience shaping words and melody meant that we rapidly found a rhythm that hopefully enabled us to get out the way quite quickly, allowing the audience to listen to the stories themselves."

Fatherland opens at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre on Saturday 1st July 2017 and runs through Saturday 22nd July 2017, as part of MIF17. The album is available from 30th June 2017 and available to pre-order now.

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival, Frantic Assembly, the Royal Exchange Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith and LIFT. Supported by PRS for Music Foundation.

Karl Hyde Studied fine art at Stourbridge & Cardiff and is a founder member of Underworld and the art collective Tomato. As half of Underworld, Hyde has spent the last 25 years recording and touring, while also exploring solo and collaborative projects with Brian Eno and others. He has exhibited art works internationally since 1978, published two books of street poetry 'Mmm Skyscraper I love You' & 'In the Belly of St Paul' (with John Warwicker) and his semi-autobiographical book 'I am Dogboy'. Film and Theatre credits (as Underworld) include Beautiful Burnout (National Theatre of Scotland / Frantic Assembly), Frankenstein (National Theatre), Sunshine (dir Danny Boyle), Breaking & Entering (dir Anthony Minghella) and the London 2012 Olypmic Opening Ceremony. Underworld's Grammy nominated "Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future" was released in 2016 to critical acclaim and saw the band performing headline slots at Glastonbury, Coachella and Summer Sonic.

In addition to Fatherland, at Manchester International Festival 2017, Hyde and Underworld partner Rick Smith present an installation piece 'Manchester Street Poem', a project that will spotlight the stories of those who find themselves homeless in the city, at UNFEAR (6th July to 14th July).

Matthew Herbert is a musician, artist and writer, whose range of work extends from albums such as bodily functions and ONE PIG to Ivor Novello-nominated film scores (Life in a Day) as well as music for Broadway, TV, games and radio. Herbert has remixed artists including Quincy Jones, Serge Gainsbourg and Ennio Morricone and worked with acts as diverse as Bjork and Dizzee Rascal. Herbert is most known for working with sound, turning ordinary 'found sound' into electronic music. His debut play as writer/director (The Hush) opened at the National Theatre in 2013, and his opera, The Crackle, opened at the Royal Opera House in 2014. Music for theatre includes People, Places and Things and Edgar and Annabel at the National; Machinal and Top Girls on Broadway; and Drunk Enough to Say I Love You at the Royal Court. Herbert is an artistic researcher at Canterbury Christ Church University and Director of the New BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

In addition to Fatherland, at Manchester International Festival 2017, Herbert will present an installation piece 'Music for a Busy City' at the Great Northern Warehouse (30th June to 16th July).

For more information about the release and Fatherland contact Robin Turner at Turner Hall.

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival, Frantic Assembly, the Royal Exchange Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith and LIFT. Supported by PRS for Music Foundation.

Joseph Alessi Alan
Luke Brown Martin
Bryan Dick Karl
Emun Elliott Scott
Ankit Giri Samir
Nick Holder Mel
David Judge Daniel
Neil McCaul Graham
Tachia Newell Craig
Luke Rigg Jack
Ferdy Roberts Simon
Deka Walmsley Stephen

Creative Team

Scott Graham Co-Author & Director
Karl Hyde Co-Author & Composer
Simon Stephens Co-Author & Writer
Jon Bausor Designer
Jon Clark Lighting Designer

Matthew Herbert Co-Composer & Music Producer
Ian Dickinson Sound Designer
for Autograph Sound
Beth Allen Vocal Coach
Eddie Kay Choreographer
Anne McNulty CDG Casting Director
Nick Sidi Dramaturg

For the full festival programme, please visit

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