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 Karl Bartos, Photo by Gaby Gerster, 2000
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2013-03-26

ROLLING STONE / USA

FORMER KRAFTWERK MEMBER RETURNS WITH 'OFF THE RECORD'
By Eric R. Danton

(...) As it happened, Bartos' neighbor owns a record label and kept after the musician to put out new music – or better yet, previously unreleased old works. Bartos was reluctant at first, in part because releasing archival material would mean combing through decades' worth of recordings.

"After quite awhile, he convinced me," Bartos tells Rolling Stone. "What he wanted first, his wish was that I would give him some old recordings and he would put it out, but I thought, 'No, I can't do it, I have to listen first properly.' . . . It took me weeks to transfer all my old data into the computer."

Once he had organized hours and hours of musical notes, jottings and ideas, Bartos realized he had plenty of worthwhile material to work with. The hardest part, he says, was reducing it to just 12 songs.

"I took maybe a snippet here, a bassline there, some melodies, and in the end I have a perfect picture of that period in time," he says. (...)

(...) Though Off the Record is very much a Kraftwerk-like electronic album full of synthesizers, robotic vocal treatments and glossy machine beats, Bartos is reluctant to draw parallels with latter-day electronic artists like Deadmau5 or Skrillex.

"If you talk about the state of electronic music, I'd rather listen to a Tarantino soundtrack and see what he does with the convergence of image and sound. It's much more important to me," Bartos says. "I have nothing against DJs, but music culture – it's just a very difficult time for music culture to evolve, because the business model is not existing, and when there's no money involved, there's no innovation." (...)


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