Exposé Online banner

Karl Bartos — Off the Record
(Bureau B BB079, 2013, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-02-09

Off the Record Cover artKarl Bartos was one quarter of Kraftwerk in their “classic” years of the late 70s/early 80s. He was a major contributor to The Man-Machine and Computer World. During those years Karl kept an audio diary of his thoughts, experiments, rhythms, riffs, hooks, sounds, chords and melodies. Shelved for many years, Karl dusted them off in 2011 and reconceived them in a post-Kraftwerk modern setting. It took him two years to rework these ideas and the result is the 12 brand new tracks on Off the Record. There are a number of Kraftwerkian elements like vocoders and electronic rhythms, but the result is a warmer and more approachable set of songs than Kraftwerk’s sterile and robotic music. The opening song, “Atomium,” adds warmth to Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity, while “Nachtfahrt” is a happier and more melodic travel music than Kraftwerk could achieve on “Autobahn.” Karl also dabbles in various electronic music genres on this disc. “Without a Trace of Emotion” recalls New Wave music ala Ultravox; “The Binary Code,” with its bubbling analog sequencers, reminded me of early Ralph Lundsten; “The Tuning of the World” with its nod to Cluster; the excellent “Instant Bayreuth” with its Michael Rother references; and John Cage’s “Silence” that in this case is a six second track of complete silence. Along the way there is also a rave number and break beats “Musica Ex Machina.” Overall, quite an interesting electronic release that presents a little bit of something for everyone.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Karl Bartos

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lana Lane - Garden of the Moon – When one has to crank out fifty or sixty reviews per issue, you pretty much have to be listening to music at every possible opportunity, including hours spent at the so-called day job. Usually it's...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues