Karl Bartos Off the Record

Karl BartosOff the Record
Karl Bartos was a member of Kraftwerk from 1975 to 1990, during the creation of such influential albums as Radio-Activity, The Man-Machine and Computer World. Ever-striving for more during this period, Bartos worked on a secret acoustic diary free from the confines of the increasingly perfectionist Kraftwerk collective. In his spare time, he jotted down bits and pieces for personal projects that never ended up being fully realized. That is, until now. While the extent to which his source material was "reconceived and re-contextualised" remains unclear, what is apparent is how important Bartos's contributions to the evolution of electronic music were. Of course, Kraftwerk are noted as one of music's most sampled acts, but when one feels the industrial punch of "Musica Ex Machina" or the shimmering glow of "International Velvet," you can practically see the pot of gold at the end of the Black Moth Super Rainbow. This is where that indie-electronic sound came from — that mix of vocoder and synthesis with live performance and a mind for A/V presentation. Off the Record may be dated in some respects, but it still sounds like it's aimed at the future. (Bureau B)