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introDASA, Dortmund, Germany
20th November 2015
Karl Bartos - Opening concert for the exhibition “Die Roboter”

In the context of the permanent exhibition “Mensch - Arbeit - Technik’ (people - work - technic)” at the DASA Dortmund the music of KARL BARTOS fitted perfectly to the venue. The DASA presents objects of the world of work from the past up to now. The DASA offers guidance, workshops for groups, viewings but you can also explore this place on your own. On occasion of the new exhibition “Robots - the relationship between people and the machine”, the concert of KARL BARTOS was the proper opener. The show took place in a huge factory hall where you could even find an old tram standing.

Surely many know this musician as part of the world-renowned band KRAFTWERK. While studying piano, vibraphone and drums at the university in Düsseldorf, he was introduced to Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider who were looking for a live drummer for KRAFTWERK. He then joined the band in 1975 and worked from 1978 up to 1990, when he left, also as a co-composer for several songs. He then started his own project ELECTRIC MUSIC together with former RHEINGOLD member Lothar Manteuffel. They released only one album, ‘Esperanto’ in 1993 and the following year the project was finished. Together with Bernard Sumner (JOY DIVISION/ NEW ORDER) and Johnny Marr (THE SMITHS/ THE THE, e.g.) he worked on their project ELECTRONIC. Furthermore he worked as producer, songwriter and did remixes for and with renowned international bands like OMD, ANTHONY ROTHER, FLATZ and DEINE LAKAIEN. Only in 2003 he started to launch albums and perform under his own name. Additionally he teaches as visiting academic at the University of Arts in Berlin ‘Auditive media design’ since summer 2004. Both albums KARL BARTOS released were critically acclaimed. /


Music & Performance
Just when I arrived at the venue there was a green flickering screen underlined with snatches of children singing and noises. Finally KARL BARTOS and his band, consisting of Robert Baumanns and Sascha Wild, welcomed with a big applause, entered the stage and took place behind their computers and keyboards. The show started with two KRAFTWERK songs in its typical style of minimalistic lyrics, distorted vocals, and catchy Synth melodies but now in a fresh outfit with hammering, pulsating beats. To my surprise the sound was quite good despite the big hall, where the concert took place, with an old tram and something that looked like a brewing kettle to me. The place was filled but in a comfortable way where everybody still had enough space and a good view to the stage. And the latter is important for sure as the show lives from the visual effects as well. Sometimes the screen showed video animations sometimes videos where displayed. Most of the songs flew into one another so that it was tricky to find a moment where the audience could applaud.


The audience was mainly of my age and older and so it was clear that they knew the KRAFTWERK works from the early beginning and were well aware of the influence on KARL BARTOS music but also the advancement he created with his songs. And so it came as no surprise that some of his own songs where more Synth Pop-like without distorted vocals. Nevertheless the music is not really suitable to party but at least you could watch some people in the audience do a little dance or move along. As the emphasis lies on the visual effects displayed on the screen there weren’t much light effects or something you could call a light show. And so the lights were used sparingly. Apart from some quite nostalgic videos from the seventies I definitely liked the video to ‘Musica ex machina’. It showed different people of all kind of ages and kids with headphones on listening to this song and their reaction to it. The more they listened to it the more they moved, smiled or sang along. This reminded me of my lessons in media education where the university lecturer showed how audio sensations impacts on a person.


Though the setlist contained over 20 songs the audience demanded an encore and got a further song before KARL BARTOS left the stage for good under a thunderous applause.

01. Numbers
02. Computerworld
03. The camera
04. The model
05. I’m the message
06. Homecomputer
07. Reality
08. Trans Europe Express
09. The robots
10. Atomium
11. Nachtfahrt
12. Musica ex machina
13. Without a trace of emotion
14. Rhythmus
15. Life
16. Computer love
17. Pocket calculator
18. Tour de France
19. Interview
20. 15 minutes of fame
21. Ultraviolet
22. Neonlights
23. TV

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 7
Total: 9 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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