MATTHÄUS // is a chamber folk band from Chicago and St. Paul. The band began when composer Ben Montalbano enlisted his close friends to collaborate on a few simple, yet deeply personal folk songs. As these songs blossomed into fully realized and orchestrated compositions, the result was a sound that embraces the colors of contemporary chamber music, with the emotional and structural bedrock of folk and roots music. These first songs and collaborations would eventually culminate in the recording of their first EP, “Effigy”.
"Effigy" is a collection of four songs that span both a musical and emotional arc. The order of these songs yields an intentional narrative that follows a path from reflection on loss to examination, and then introspection that ultimately leads to catharsis. The EP’s title song and opening track opens by positing a poignant question to the listener: do you even know my name? The ensuing 20 minutes of “Effigy” are an attempt to answer this opening question and a resolution isn’t realized until the closing minute of the last song, “Letters”.
Through unique orchestration and songwriting, Matthäus creates an EP that is engaging on multiple levels. At any time during “Effigy”, listeners can expect to hear bass clarinet, vibraphone, and French horn, paired with a standard rock rhythm section. The result is a seamless blending of Reich-inspired chamber music with modern greats like Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens.
With “Effigy” to be released by ears&eyes Records in May of 2017, Matthäus has expanded to a collective collaboration, allowing further avenues of influence, always venturing closer to their ultimate goal: reflective folk-pop.
released May 26, 2017
Ben Montalbano - Guitar, Banjo, Piano, Keyboards, Voice
Joe Meland - Keyboard, Voice
Justin Peters - Vibraphone, Marimba, Aux Percussion, Voice
Lars-Erik Larson - Drums
Samuel Peters - Bass
Alex Blomarz - Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax
Hugo Seda - French Horn
Chris Shuttleworth - Trombone
Steve Shirk - Organ Pump on Effigy
Drew Hansen - Trumpet on Effigy, Lower Goshen Park, Letters
Recorded and mixed by Stephen Shirk at SHIRK Studio in Chicago
Mastered by Anthony Gravino at The Drake in Chicago
Album artwork by Scott Durand