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
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more