Karl Bartos




October 2003

new album (Home Rec./Sony)
"Communication" is also available (only a short while in trade!) in a limited edition including the 'I’m the Message' video and a link to download remixes by Orbnital and Felix Da Housecat.

August 2003
I'm The Message
single (Home Records )
Remixes of Orbital and Felix Da Housecat

Side A
1.I'm The Message (Orbital Remix) (6:40)
Side B
1.I'm The Message X-Traterrestrial Mix( Remixed by Felix Da Housecat) (6:04)
2.Karl Bartos - I'm The Message (original) (5:01)

When Karl Bartos produces music, he spends hours filling up his old IBM with digital data so that the speech synthesis system can understand amplitudes, formants and vocal transients and actually speak to him, before watching a little ”Sesame Street”, without the sound. Then he might scroll through the writings of media theoretician and critic Neil Postman or cut in a sentence from the works of Bret Easton Ellis, so that the speech synthesis has something to say.
”Communication”, the first solo Karl Bartos album since the Electric Music project (”Esperanto”, ”Electric Music”), works on something like the same principle of a camera obscura: the light of the outside world beams into a dark room through a tiny hole, projecting an image onto the wall. The image is upside down, but you can see it quite clearly. Concept album is a terrible term. ”Communication” may well be a thematic entity, but it is in no way a hermetic reflection of the surreal, absurd media world, which no longer distinguishes between war and a gameshow, between Noddy and the News. A world where ”B. B. King” actually rhymes with ”anything”; where we amuse ourselve to death - ‘Please, Mr Postman, look and see!’. Karl Bartos, an accomplished and highly trained percussionist until the invention of the MIDI Standard, has an acute self-awareness as an entertainer. The former Kraftwerk mastermind fled from the monsters he inadvertently created, spending two years in England with Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths), and leaving us to it with techno-overkill and 909 bass drums. In the year of the stay-away Y2K crash, he released just the one single, ”15 Minutes of Fame”. Now he is coming back.
For ”Communication”, performed live for the first time in July at London’s ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), requires all of the tactile senses. This is music as an emotional experience. Bartos can manipulate the old IBM with just the same mastery as the Logic Audio. But he is as uninterested in the old filter to filter interaction as he is in the bass knob at 350 Hertz. Those kind of things just slow you down. It is not for nothing that Bartos
worked for two years before 16 songs were reduced to 10. Karl Bartos knows his history and has a unique ability to update it with contemporary methods. 80s soundscapes with modern beats and loops. Catchy melodies re-worked thematically by somebody educated on the counterpoint and the finer points of harmonics. Call it Electro – B. B. King / anything. And everything revolves around one thing: the song. Karl Bartos’ sound unites , transcending the generations. The single ”I’m the Message”, for which Bartos conceived the computer-animated, pop-art style video, producing it with Weissraum in Hamburg, was remixed by Orbital and Felix Da Housecat. It’s almost like the invention of the Polaroid: Karl Bartos‘ work reminds you of what it is to be amazed.

(Home Rec./Sony

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As co-author of known Kraftwerk titles
as “The Robots", “The Model", “Pocket Calculator" or “Tour de France",

Karl Bartos set the foundation for the world-wide success of German Techno-Pop a la Kraftwerk. Countless bands such as Depeche Mode, OMD, The Human League, but also the complete Techno-Dance movement never seize to stress the importance of Kraftwerk's influence on their creative work.
Bartos belongs to the rare German Pop-icons who enjoy the highest international recognition. His authenticity as one of the founders of a particular German genre makes him as hip as ever.
As a classically trained drummer and keyboarder, Bartos' influence is evident on the music of Kraftwerk. The godfathers of US-HipHop such as Africa Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force, but also the protagonists of the early Detroit Housegrooves have picked up his typical electro beats. With the international success of German Dancemusic, the quality of electronic lifestyle from Germany (co-founded by Bartos) is confirmed until this day. After having left Kraftwerk, his activities as author and producer lead him to world-wide successful co-operations with OMD (Andy McCluskey) and Electronic (Bernard Sumner / Johnny Marr), The Mobile Homes (Sweden), and Anthony Rother and Deine Lakaien from Germany, as well as records of his own project titled
Electric Music".
A suprise-gig as electronic DJ in August 1999 at the “Kickzone" Festival during the PopKomm in Cologne gained him excellent critics, for Bartos the starting-signal for new live plans.
Accompanied by a keyboarder Bartos' live-set is composed of newly arranged solo-titles and some premiers. Thus “Man Machine", “Metropolis", “Techno Pop" and “The Telephone Call" have never been performed live before, further Kraftwerk songs have been digitally optimized for stage conditions. The previously unreleased track “15 Minutes of Fame" will be complemented with further new compositions, inspired by the atmosphere of a live audience and set to be captured on an upcoming album. Visually Bartos is supported by the work of Cologne
video artist Karsten Binar who created video loops, illustrating on big TV screens the Bartos live.

1970 - 1976
Studies at the Rhineland State Conservatory of Music, Robert Schumann Institute, in Dusseldorf (main subject: percussion); advanced performer's degree in percussion

1975 - 1991
Member and songwriter of the German electronic band KRAFTWERK from Dusseldorf; various record releases and tours:

"Autobahn" - USA- and Europe- tour

"Radioactivity" - album

"Trans Europe Express" - album

"The Man Machine" - album

1976 - 1978
various tours in Europe

"Computer World" - album and world tour

"Tour de France" - maxi-single

"Electric Café" - album


"The Mix"

Foundation of the solo-project ELECTRIC MUSIC

Remix: "Planet Rock", Africa Bambaataa/Tommy Boy (USA)

Cover version: "Baby Come Back", The Equals, which was the only German production on the NME-Sample "RubyTrax" (GB).

Producer of "What Would I Be Without IBM" + "To Be Free", for the album "Peace And Love Inc",
Information Society/ Warner Bros.(USA)

Solo-Single + Remix: "Crosstalk", Electric Music/SPV (D)

Solo-Single + Remixe: "TV", "Television" und "TV2" , Electric Music/SPV (D)

Solo-Single + Remix: "Lifestyle", Electric Music/SPV (D)

Solo Album: "Esperanto", ElectricMusic/SPV (D), East West (GB)

"Virtual Summer Tour" - Skandinavia (Copenhagen, Lund, Stockholm, Arvika-Festival)

1994 - 1995
Working in Manchester with the British band Electronic (Bernard Sumner - New Order, Johnny Marr - ex-The Smiths), Songwriting 9 tracks on their album "Raise The Pressure" (EMI, release: 1996)

Foreword to the illustrated book of Martin Pesch and Markus Weisbeck "Techno Style - Musik, Grafik, Mode und Partykultur der Techno-Bewegung" (Techno Style - music, grafics, fashion and party culture of the techno-scene) published by Edition Olms, Zurich

Songwriting: 2 tracks for the album "Universal", OMD/Virgin (GB)

1997Remix: "Coma", Superior/Virgin (GB)

Producing/songwriting: Album "The Mobile Homes", The Mobile Homes/SPV (D), Arcade (S)

Single + remix: "You Make The Sunshine", The MobileHomes/ SPV (D) + Arcade (S) - this track is used as commercial by the Swedish Airline SAS

Solo Single: "Sunshine", Electric Music/SPV (D)

Solo Single: "Call On Me", Electric Music/SPV (D)

Solo Album: "Electric Music", Electric Music/SPV

Cover version: "Tour de France" for the so called sampler of Warner Special Marketing

Remix: "Little Computer People", Anthony Rother/ Alphabet City - release: spring 2000

Remix: "Return", Deine Lakaien/Columbia (D)

Release of the single "The Young Urban Professional" and the album "Electric Music" in GB (Jammin) and Japan (Nippon Crown)

Producer/songwriter of the album"Love & Violence" of the German artist "Flatz"/ Sony
(D) - release: summer 2000

DJ-performance at the "Kickzone"-Festival at swimming stadion Müngersdorf, Cologne during the PopKomm'99

Bartos live - club tour and festivals

"15 Minutes of Fame", Orbit/Virgin

Bartos live - Scandinavian-club-tour

Production of new material

Bartos live – worldwide festivals and tour

Solo-Vinyl-Single “I’m The Message” (Home Rec./ Sony) –

Solo-Album “Communication” (Home Rec./ Sony)

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Karl Bartos / ElectricMusic

Karl Bartos: Communication
1.The Camera
2.I'm the Message
3.15 Minutes of Fame
5.Electronic Apeman
10.Another Reality
11.I'm the Message (video) (extra track on limited CD)

Karl Bartos: I'm The Message

Karl Bartos: 15 Minutes of Fame

1.15 Minutes of Fame (Radio Edit)
2.15 Minutes of Fame (Original Mix)
3.15 Minutes of Fame (Club Mix)
4.15 Minutes of Fame (Arty Mix)

Elektric Music: Elektric Music
1.The Young Urban Professional
3.Another Day
5.Call on Me
6.Together We Can Do It All
7.Out of This World
8.Only a Dream
9.Shallow Grave
11.Sunshine (Reprise)
12.The Long Way

Elektric Music: Sunshine

Elektric Music: Call On Me

Elektric Music: Call on Me
1.Call on Me (Single Mix)
2.Call on Me (Acoustic Mix)
3.Only A Dream 5.32

Elektric Music: Lifestyle

Elektric Music: Esperanto

1.TV 5.44 (Bartos/Manteuffel)
2.Show Business 3.20 (Bartos/Manteuffel/McCluskey)
3.Kissing the Machine 5.05 (Bartos/McCluskey)
4.Lifestyle 4.46 (Bartos)
5.Crosstalk 5.52 (Bartos/Manteuffel/Schult)
6.Information 8.35 (Bartos)
7.Esperanto 4.41 (Bartos)
8.Overdrive 5.23 (Bartos/Schult)

Elektric Music: TV

Elektric Music: Crosstalk
3.Baby Come Back
Limited edition of 5000


Listen to ...

The camera

I'm the message

15 minutes of fame


Electronic apeman





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Music is my one and only work and hobby at the same time

Hamburg is a really bright city. A fantastic place to be, lots of culture going on. The weather is a little rainy, like England ... lots of rain, but it's still cool.

People don't recognize me
I’m anonymous , it’s just the name (Kraftwerk) who breaks the ice.

Life is much easier if you like what you are doing, so I avoid to collaborate with somebody I don’ t like.

Kind of music and bands I like personally ? That’s my secret.

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10-20-2003: Manchester (UK) , University
10-21-2003: Glasgow (UK), King Tuts
10-22-2003: London (UK), ULU
10-25-2003: Lisbon (Portugal), Numero Festival



advanced technologic sound magazine
2003 october issue 118

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