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. 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.

In 2013 Karl Bartos released a new album. 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.

Read the "Off The Record" info sheet (PDF) in German

Read the "Off The Record" info sheet (PDF) in English

Download press kit here


with Kraftwerk

1975 Radio-Activity
1977 Trans Europe Express
1978 The Man-Machine
1981 Computer World
1986 Electric Cafe
1991 The Mix


1993 Esperanto
1998 Electric Music
2003 Communication


Financial Times (UK): The Kraftwerk record that Kraftwerk, it seems, are unable to make.

BBC (UK): The results of this archive-trawl are just what a Kraftwerk disciple would expect – although on certain songs Bartos becomes even more hook-attuned than his old band, taking that tack too far. It's a mixed manifestation of electronic pop.

Uncut (UK): More than an excercise in nostalgia, Off The Record, should be lapped up by Krafwerk fans; it finds Bartos beefing up his original "Numbers" beat for "Rhythmus" and riffing on "Radio-Activity" for "Atomium", while "Without a Trace Of Emotion" pokes fun at his past.

Rolling Stone (GER): Eins hat Bartos dem Spätwerk des Museumswächters Hütter ganz klar voraus: Melodien, Songs und ein Gespür für die Romantik von Einsen und Nullen.

DIE ZEIT (GER): Karl Bartos hat mit "Off The Record" das beste Kraftwerk-Album seit über 25 Jahren aufgenommen.

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Karl Bartos
Off The Record

Karl Bartos

Karl Bartos
Art Print


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Click for Hi-Res version (Credit: Markus Wustmann)

Click for Hi-Res version (Credit: Katja Ruge)

Click for Hi-Res version (Credit: Katja Ruge)

Click for Hi-Res version (Credit: Katja Ruge)

Click for Hi-Res version (Credit: Katja Ruge)

Acknowledgement: We would like to thank director Henri Simons and the entire crew of the Atomium for their marvellous support during filming.