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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Vanderhoof - A Blur in Time – Those who have heard of Kurdt Vanderhoof will know him as a member of the band Metal Church. I’m no fan of that band (or metal in general), but I had heard his other-band-cum-solo-project Vanderhoof...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues