Sound Advice: Klaus Johann Grobe with PRIM

Friday • MOTR Pub

May 4, 2016 at 8:59 am
click to enlarge Klaus Johann Grobe
Klaus Johann Grobe

With nothing else to go on but the severe Teutonic name, you might surmise that Klaus Johann Grobe is a humorless German Synth Pop/Krautrock texturalist who stands alone on stage making icily atmospheric blips and gurgles while staring emotionlessly at his audience. You’d only be partially right.

To begin, Klaus Johann Grobe isn’t a single German Synth Pop texturalist, but two distinct Swiss sonic anarchists — keyboardist/vocalist Sevi Landolt and drummer/vocalist Daniel Bachmann — who play a stripped-down Garage/Jazz/Soul/Pop hybrid and sing entirely in German, creating an entity that suggests a blend of The B-52’s and The Flying Lizards, if they’d been the house band for a seedy bar on the Reeperbahn. That description alone should indicate that the duo most certainly possesses a sense of humor and playfulness, which comes through via swaths of surfy ’60s AM-radio Pop and Tropicalia, as well as ’70s New Wave and Soul, all filtered through contemporarily retro aviator shades and an Art Pop sensibility.

Landolt and Bachmann had played together for years in a variety of different bands that incorporated a number of the elements evident in KJG’s sound, which ended when Bachmann relocated to Berlin. When Landolt learned Bachmann was returning to Switzerland, he contacted him to gauge his interest in creating a duo project. KJG was initially conceived as a one-and-done idea — a handful of shows to support an EP release, then take a bow and cook up another musical outlet. But the reception to KJG convinced the musicians to keep the band going, which they have for the past five years. The twosome (which is rounded out in concert by Stephan Brunner and Ernst David Hangartner) has released two albums — 2014’s Im Sinne der Zeit (loosely translated as “in the sense of time”) and the imminent Spagat der Liebe (“balancing act of love”), which taps a little deeper into the artists’ Disco/Dance Pop passions and is being released on the day of the band’s free show (part of Klaus Johann Grobe’s first U.S. tour) this week in Cincinnati.

Click here for details about the free show.