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Karl Bartos|The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Karl Bartos

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Karl Bartos joined Kraftwerk during their Autobahn tour and played a crucial role in the band as they laid the groundwork for synth pop, electro, and techno. He helped write many of the group's most iconic and best-loved songs, including "The Model," "Computer Love," and "Metropolis," a haunting tune inspired by Fritz Lang's 1927 dystopian classic of the same name. Decades after leaving the band and sporadically issuing efforts ranging from Kraftwerk-style electropop to guitar-driven pop-rock (as Elektric Music), Bartos decided to compose a score for another key work of the German Expressionist cinema movement, Robert Wiene's 1920 horror touchstone The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Telling the tale of a respected yet mad hypnotist who drives a somnambulist to commit murders, the dark, visually striking film is often interpreted as a commentary on German society's obedience to authority. Bartos' 75-minute score is obviously meant to be heard while watching the film itself (it's in the public domain, so it's easy to view online for free), so that all of the tracks sync up with the corresponding scenes. As such, the track titles generally spell out the moods of the individual pieces. Both parts of "At the Funfair" sound like playful circus music, the "Scary Memories" are appropriately spooky, tracks like "Arrest of the Suspect" and "Interrogation" are tense and suspicious, "Cesare's Attack and Escape" gets dramatic and alarming, and so forth. It all fits the film to a tee, and makes for a riveting audio-visual experience. Unfortunately, when listened to on its own, most of the score is indistinguishable from the type of generic background music heard on any number of children's programs on public television, as it largely consists of preset keyboard tones and simplistic melodies. Yet there are moments that stand out, like the buzzy synths and excited crowd chatter of the "Funfair" tracks, and the hypnotic, post-minimalist rhythms and choral arpeggios of "Lunatic Asylum" and the title theme. Bartos' score to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a treat for film buffs, but most Kraftwerk fans will likely find it underwhelming.

© Paul Simpson /TiVo

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Karl Bartos

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1
Prologue
00:01:32

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

2
Scary Memories
00:02:21

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

3
Atonal Floating
00:01:02

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

4
Full of Life
00:01:57

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

5
In the Town Hall
00:02:55

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

6
At the Funfair
00:02:42

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

7
A Mysterious Crime
00:01:09

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

8
At the Funfair 2
00:02:56

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

9
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
00:05:15

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

10
Jane's Theme
00:00:51

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

11
March Grotesque 2
00:00:27

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

12
Jane's Theme 2
00:01:11

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

13
Shadows
00:00:36

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

14
Tragic Message
00:02:19

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

15
Suspicion
00:02:11

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

16
Tragic Message 2
00:01:17

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

17
The Plan
00:00:56

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

18
A Dark Figure
00:00:28

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

19
Caligari's Theme
00:01:16

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

20
Arrest of the Suspect
00:00:56

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

21
Caligari's Theme 2
00:01:44

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

22
Worried Jane
00:00:44

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

23
Interrogation
00:01:24

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

24
Jane's Fear
00:03:35

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

25
Francis's Observation
00:00:45

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

26
Cesare's Attack and Escape
00:04:31

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

27
Safe and Sound
00:01:31

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

28
Francis at a Loss
00:01:39

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

29
Caligari's Deception
00:02:18

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

30
Lunatic Asylum
00:03:08

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

31
In Search of the Truth
00:07:54

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

32
Out in the Field
00:02:37

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

33
The Director Rants and Rages
00:02:13

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

34
Scary Memories 2
00:00:55

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

35
Who's Mad Here
00:02:34

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

36
Francis Rants and Rages
00:02:10

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

37
Epilogue
00:01:32

Karl Bartos, Composer, Producer, MainArtist - Electric Music, MusicPublisher - Mathias Black, Producer

(C) 2024 Bureau B (P) 2024 Bureau B

Album review

Karl Bartos joined Kraftwerk during their Autobahn tour and played a crucial role in the band as they laid the groundwork for synth pop, electro, and techno. He helped write many of the group's most iconic and best-loved songs, including "The Model," "Computer Love," and "Metropolis," a haunting tune inspired by Fritz Lang's 1927 dystopian classic of the same name. Decades after leaving the band and sporadically issuing efforts ranging from Kraftwerk-style electropop to guitar-driven pop-rock (as Elektric Music), Bartos decided to compose a score for another key work of the German Expressionist cinema movement, Robert Wiene's 1920 horror touchstone The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Telling the tale of a respected yet mad hypnotist who drives a somnambulist to commit murders, the dark, visually striking film is often interpreted as a commentary on German society's obedience to authority. Bartos' 75-minute score is obviously meant to be heard while watching the film itself (it's in the public domain, so it's easy to view online for free), so that all of the tracks sync up with the corresponding scenes. As such, the track titles generally spell out the moods of the individual pieces. Both parts of "At the Funfair" sound like playful circus music, the "Scary Memories" are appropriately spooky, tracks like "Arrest of the Suspect" and "Interrogation" are tense and suspicious, "Cesare's Attack and Escape" gets dramatic and alarming, and so forth. It all fits the film to a tee, and makes for a riveting audio-visual experience. Unfortunately, when listened to on its own, most of the score is indistinguishable from the type of generic background music heard on any number of children's programs on public television, as it largely consists of preset keyboard tones and simplistic melodies. Yet there are moments that stand out, like the buzzy synths and excited crowd chatter of the "Funfair" tracks, and the hypnotic, post-minimalist rhythms and choral arpeggios of "Lunatic Asylum" and the title theme. Bartos' score to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a treat for film buffs, but most Kraftwerk fans will likely find it underwhelming.

© Paul Simpson /TiVo

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