About Von Spar
Traversing the fringes of post-punk, Krautrock, and synth pop, German quartet Von Spar have shifted their sound from the explosive dance-infused noise of their 2004 debut to the contained, lush-sounding Motorik of 2019's Under Pressure.
Founded in Cologne in 2003 by Sebastian Blume, Jan Philipp Janzen, Christopher Marquez, Phillip Tielsch, and Thomas Mahmoud, Von Spar blasted onto the scene with their explosive mix of dance-punk and noise with the release of 2004's Die uneingeschr?nkte Freiheit der privaten Initiative. The band's mix of post-punk and Krautrock fitted into the burgeoning scene heralded by 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 Krautrock Motorik of bands such as Can, Neu!, and Harmonia, the album featured two 20-minute pieces that went from harsh noise to pulsing synths and melodic 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 something more in keeping with 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 it referenced their earlier 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 reissuing classic material from German legends Cluster and Faust. 2019's Under Pressure featured a roster of guests for the first time, including Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, R. Stevie Moore, and Japanese musician Eiko Ishibashi. ~ Rich Wilson