Karl Bartos, Photo by Gaby Gerster, 2000
WBEZ91.5 / CHICAGO PUBLIC MEDIA / USAALL HAIL GERMAN SYNTH LEGENDS!
By Jim DeRogatis
(...) The lack of credit for those contributions seems to have been one reason Bartos left the group; Hütter’s dictatorial ways were notorious. Another was the frustrating inertia that had infected the band, which has given us no new music since 1986. In contrast, Bartos has kept impressively busy, releasing electronic pop with Elektric Music, collaborating with Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr of Electronic and recording under his own name. But his new Off the Record is the best of any of those efforts, as well as the most Kraftwerk-inspired. (...)
(...) But this is no exercise in aping the past. “The Binary Code” is a soundtrack for the overwhelming, non-stop digital tidal wave of 2013, while “Hausmusik” nods to Chicago’s indigenous dance sounds, exploring the global cross-pollination of electronic sounds past, present and future.
Kraftwerk fans long for Hütter, the only remaining member of the group’s most famous lineup, to finally deliver a new set of songs that can stand beside the band’s best. But Bartos has beaten him to it and done exactly that. (...)