CD, Home Records, 2003
Though no longer a member of Kraftwerk, Karl Bartos is one of the founders of the legendary German electronic-music pioneer group and also has a rather interesting and successful solo musical career, “Communication” being his latest release. On occasion, “Communication” has been referred to as ‘the album Kraftwerk should have released as a result of their reunion’. Despite being an exaggerated remark, it’s not that exaggerated, as this is indeed a great album.
Musically, “Communication” is not very distant from what one remembers from the Kraftwerk sound but it is less experimental and much more ‘pop’ oriented. One can’t avoid the feeling that Bartos might be trying to capitalize a bit on the similarity to the Kraftwerk sound which was, nevertheless, partly shaped by Bartos and, therefore, part of his musical identity. The vocal style is also quite reminiscent of Kraftwerk but with more accentuated vocoder distortion effects.
Lyrically, “Communication” deals with issues of modern technology, communication, the virtual worlds of the Internet and how all that relates to and affects human beings, ultimately shaping the reality of their lives. Despite a somewhat optimistic tone, there appears to be concern with the shallowness and fugacity of the life in this ‘reality’: more than ever, nothing is certain and everything is permitted as reality can be easily shaped and its users manipulated. In an interesting twist, the perspective in the songs is not that of humans but that of technology itself, making it more humane while giving a cold and mechanical edge to what is a rather ‘human’.
The simple and minimalist artwork on the CD cover and booklet ties perfectly with the music: stylized iconography presented in simple black and white, as simple and clean-cut as the music of the album.
— Miguel de Sousa