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Von Spar

Traversing the fringes of post-punk, krautrock, and synth-pop, German quartet Von Spar have shifted their sound from explosive dance-infused noise of their 2004 debut through to the contained, lush sounding motoric rock of 2019's, Under Pressure. Founded in Cologne in 2003 by Sebastian Blume, Jan Philipp Janzen, Christopher Marquez, Phillip Tielsch, and Thomas Mahmoud, and named after the street their rehearsal room was based on, Von Spar blast onto the scene with their explosive mix of dance-punk and noise with the release of 2004's Die uneingeschränkte Freiheit der privaten Initiative. The band's mix of post-punk and krautrock elements fitted with the burgeoning scene heralded by the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Death from Above 1979. Not ones to be pigeonholed, the group returned in 2007 with their eponymous sophomore album. Truly embracing the motorik krautrock of the likes of Can, Neu!, and Harmonia, the album featured two 20-minute pieces that went from harsh noise, through to pulsing synths and guitar lines. Tensions within the band saw vocalist Mahmoud leave that year, with the rest of the group continuing as a four-piece. Leaving behind the less chaotic side of their previous work, the group issued their third album, Foreigner, in 2010, creating an work more akin to their influences. For their next release, Von Spar teamed up with Stephen Malkmus for a playthrough of Can's classic Ege Bamyasi, recorded live at the Week-End Fest in Cologne. The group delivered their fourth album, Streetlife, the following year, and while the album continued with the sound of their previous work, Von Spar also introduced elements of 80s synth-pop. It would be five years before they returned with their fifth album and their first for Bureau B, a label that had been instrumental in classic reissues of works by the likes of Cluster and Faust. 2019's Under Pressure saw the quartet joined by a roster of guests for the first time, including the likes of Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, R. Stevie Moore, and Japanese musician, Eiko Ishibashi.
© Rich Wilson /TiVo
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