New Album From Kraftwerk’s Karl Bartos, Off The Record

Former Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos shared this sneak preview of Atomium, from his upcoming album, Off The Record.

Based on the press info for Atomium, Bartos is not straying too far from classic Kraftwerk themes or sounds:

No other edifice in Europe symbolizes the rise and fall of atomic power quite as dramatically as the Atomium. This gigantic model of an iron crystal, erected for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, finds its musical voice on the first single lifted from the new Karl Bartos album.

But what does iron crystal music sound like? The Ex-Kraftwerk member combines variable metrics and intelligent rhythmicity with calculated noise and the elegant weightlessness of his melodies – neoclassicism meets avant-garde electronica.

Here’s the audio preview of Atomium:

Here’s the official blurb on Bartos’ new album:


For Off the Record, Karl Bartos has opened up his music archive for the very first time. He rediscovered and analysed hundreds of tapes, piles of sheet music, and years of digital media. Inspired by his acoustic diary and adding his experience as a composer and producer, he has created twelve brand new songs – written and performed with masterly skill.

It took him two years to accomplish this original Bartos album: iron crystal music, vocoder newspeak, robot sounds, digital glitch, techno pop, catchy melodies, electronic avant-garde, roaring silence, futurism, and, of course, those rhythms! Rhythms of brutal minimalistic impact as found on the much-sampled Numbers recorded three decades ago and described by Mike Banks of Underground Resistance as “the secret code of electronic funk.”

Off The Record is scheduled for a March 2013 release. Atomium will be the first singel. Bartos is also planning a 2013 concert tour. See his site for more info.

Free iPhone App From Kraftwerk’s Karl Bartos

Karl Baros Mini Composer

Karl Bartos (formerly of Kraftwerk) and Masayuki Akamatsu (media artist and author of various iPhone apps such as Banner, Oscillator, Echochops) have created a free iPhone app, Mini-Composer (App Store link).

“We have created this simple music app for fun: it implements the basic waves of a synthesizer with a 16-step sequencer,” says Bartos. “This app is totally free of charge, but we would be very glad if, as a relief to people’s suffering following the earthquake and tsunami, you would consider a donation to lend a helping hand to Japan. Please enjoy our music and think Japan.”


  • 16 steps sequencer
  • Start/stop sequence
  • Multi-touch note input
  • 32 polyphonic tones + 1 drum track
  • 4 waves (saw, triangular, square, sine)
  • 4 drumbeat loops
  • Drums on/off
  • Random notes
  • Clear notes

The executive producer of the application is Jean-Marc Lederman.

If you give Mini-Composer a try, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!

Karl Bartos: German Traditionalism In Kraftwerk’s Music

Quietus has an interesting interview with Kraftwerk‘s Karl Bartos.

One of the most interesting sections of the interview looks at traditionalism in Kraftwerk’s music:

Karl Bartos: We felt that really World War Two had wiped out German heritage because of all the Jewish people who emigrated to the States or other parts of Europe. We all felt that Germany’s cultural heritage was very strong in the 1920s and before we had this Nazi regime and everything went ridiculous.

So we always thought we were closing a gap, rather than playing the blues or imitating The Beatles – which we loved a lot of course but it’s not in our genes and it’s not our native language. And we don’t have the blues in our genes and we weren’t born in the Mississippi Delta. There were no black people in Germany.

So instead we thought we’d had this development in the 1920s which was very, very strong and was audio visual. We had the Bauhaus school before the war and then after the war we had tremendous people like Karlheinz Stockhausen and the development of the classical and the electronic classical. This was very strong and it all happened very close to Düsseldorf in Cologne and all the great composers at that time came there.

During the late 40s up until the 70s they all came to Germany; people like John Cage, Pierre Boulez and Pierre Schaeffer and they all had this fantastic approach to modern music and we felt it would make more sense to see Kraftwerk as part of that tradition more than anything else.

When you first heard Kraftwerk, did it make you think of the German classical music tradition?