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Karl Bartos is well-known as one-quarter of the “classic” Kraftwerk line-up. Many of their most influential rhythms and memorable melodies were actually conceived in his home studio. They would later be used on an unstoppable succession of hits from the Düsseldorf band as they ascended to the lofty heights of popular music culture.
As a major contributor to The Man-Machine (1978) and Computer World (1981) Bartos has had a decisive influence on Kraftwerk’s music. Rolling Stone author Mike Rubin says of this years: “there's something timeless and universal about their songwriting of this period.”
The Kraftwerk team went on to achieve worldwide success and cult status: in 1982 The Model became a UK number 1. The track has become a classic in the history of music, along with The Robots, Metropolis, Neon Lights, Numbers, Pocket Calculator, Home Computer, Tour de France, Musique Non-Stop and The Telephone Call. Kraftwerk have been one of the most sampled artists of all time, and there have been countless cover versions of their songs. In 2005, perhaps the biggest rock band of the time Coldplay incorporated the melody from Computer Love into their hit Talk. Almost all of the group’s best-known tracks date back to the “classic” line-up. In 2012 Kraftwerk performed a retrospective of this repertoire in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Karl Bartos left the band in 1990. Subsequently he became an independent producer and writer – for his project Electric Music, as a solo artist, and also together with fellow friends and musicians – Bernard Sumner (New Order), Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and Andy McCluskey (OMD).
In 2004 he co-founded the Master of Arts course “Sound Studies – Acoustic Communication” at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK), where he was a visiting professor, teaching Auditory Media Design up until 2009.
Karl Bartos’ new album is an audio-visual sensation! Lost for many years, some of his early music has been reconceived and re-contextualised in a thrilling modern setting. Here’s the story: during Kraftwerk’s heyday Karl Bartos wrote – off the record – a secret acoustic diary. Based on his musical jottings – rhythms, riffs, hooks, sounds, chords and melodies – this is what he has come up with today: twelve brand new, exciting, timeless songs.
03. International Velvet
04. Without A Trace Of Emotion
05. The Binary Code
06. Musica Ex Machina
07. The Tuning Of The World
08. Instant Bayreuth
09. Vox Humana