On Friday, December 16th, Electric Beethoven will release their long-awaited double LP Hear No Evil via Color Red. Stemming from the mind of eclectic bassist and multi-instrumentalist, Reed Mathis, the improvising funk-rock project infuses elements of jazz and EDM based 100% on the compositions of Ludwig Van Beethoven. The musicians improvise with the intention to heal themselves and the listener through authentic grooves and excited discovery.
Hear No Evil finds the band recording six Beethoven games, live in a room together, directly to tape, at Color Red Studios in Denver, Colorado. While the band’s previous albums consisted of deeper cuts in Beethoven’s vast volume of repertoire, Hear No Evil focuses on six of Beethoven’s most famous and well-known tunes. “Elise” gives Beethoven’s piano method book standard “Für Elise” a funky facelift and dance floor makeover. “The Path” uses Piano Sonata No.8 best known as “Pathétique,” as its muse as Mathis envisions a present-times scene of the 1994 film Immortal Beloved where Beethoven, portrayed by Gary Oldman, comes to terms with his hearing loss. “Moonlight Sonata” puts Mathis and company’s dark and dreamy imprint on the classic Beethoven sonata. As a skillful musicologist and researcher, he notes that the chord progression is a direct inspiration behind classics ranging from The Beatles’ “Because” to Radiohead’s “Exit Music For a Film” and countless other haunting melodies in modern times.
During the pandemic lockdown, the group invited six friends to pick a track and put a new spin on it resulting in four remixes and two re-arrangements. “New Path” features a towering lineup including acclaimed saxophonist Karl Denson (Rolling Stones, Greyboy All-Stars, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), drummer Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident), and keyboardist Todd Stoops (RAQ). When Mathis began talking with Denson about how they would approach this classic piece of music [“Pathétique”], they immediately reveled in their shared love of Charlie Parker. They decided Parker’s "Charlie Parker with Strings" album would be their model—eschewing the written melody altogether, and instead, weaving a freeform improvised melody from the emotion contained in the raw chord changes themselves. Mathis recruited Dan Africano (Thievery Corporation) and Scott Flynn (Odesza)’s instrumental reggae/dub project, Death by Dub to create a dub-reggae rendition of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata” with skanking guitar strokes courtesy of Ryan Jalbert (The Motet) and breezy horn lines with Drew Sayers (The Motet) on saxophone filling out the horn section with Flynn. Mathis approached revered electro-soul veteran Michal Menert to work on a remix of “The Seventh” because of his unique approach to sound design and his attention to a remix’s global soundscape. Through four distinct and measured approaches, Menert aligns with the group’s original intent as his remix moves between each repetition of form, morphing in detail and subtle change while steadily building intensity.
To celebrate the release, the Mathis will be reuniting with the group’s original drummer, Jay Lane (Dead & Company, Wolf Brothers) and former Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey bandmate Brian Haas for a performance at The Chapel in San Francisco, CA on January 21, 2023, with visuals by Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show. Tickets can be purchased here.
To learn more about the release and order the record, visit: https://color-red.com/pages/electric-beethoven