Karl Bartos — Off the Record
(Bureau B BB079, 2013, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-02-09Karl 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.
Related artist(s): Karl Bartos
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more