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Karl Bartos: Without A Trace Of Emotion -- The Film

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Published on Mar 18, 2013

Hamburg, St. Pauli, Reeperbahn one of these nights in late summer...

Along with the first neon lights and impressions of the city we're about to hear an enchanting melody, reminiscent of a German Volkslied. Somehow the melody seems to encapsulate time by bringing back memories and evoking expectations at once. Why is that so?

Cut. We see Karl Bartos walking down the Große Freiheit, a busy side street off the Reeperbahn. Coming from Indra, passing by Kaiserkeller and Star-Club. Those were the venues where it all began, where all the famous bands and artists from the early 60s had played, including the Beatles.

The melody fades away and Karl sings the first verse: "I'm on my way - got the world at my feet / But I wish I could remix my life to another beat"

Approaching the Reeperbahn Karl makes a left, heading past the Davidwache police station and further down the road to the Panopticum. Bang! Without warning he finds himself in front of a huge billboard on the wall with a well-known face looking back at him: Herr Karl, his legendary showroom dummy doppelgänger from his former life. And in a flashback he visualizes his countless roles and transformations:

- as a photographer, probably right from a shooting with a model; THE model
- the robot appears in a spin
- here's a scene from the TEE film; see the trenchcoat?
- next is the Tour de France outfit; for safety reasons he's wearing a bicycle helmet, of course

Cut. In a rush Karl writes down the arpeggio melody and before too long the doppelgänger is raising his voice: "Every single day I am here to let you know / Whatever happens to you I won't let go, I won't let go"

Cut. Press conference. All cameras capture Herr Karl, his alter ego. The tension is rising and we see the flashlights reflecting in the golden records on the wall, just like crossfire. Standing at the microphones he has nothing to say, not a single word. But throughout the scene he acts without a trace of emotion and looks incredibly cool.

As the music evolves Karl replies to the doppelgänger: "I'm so glad to know that you care about your family / Don't you call me eccentric but you kill me, you kill me"

Suddenly he turns around and walks to the wings. During his walk off - coming from nowhere - someone counts down 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 and here's another flashback sequence of the famous showroom dummy:

- a vocal session
- his Tour de France outfit still looks great
- "You're so close but far away" - The Telephone Call comes to mind
- reading "Melody Maker"
- a vinyl record recalls some wicked electro sounds
- he discovers himself in the looking glass
- dress code: red shirt, black tie
- enjoying an abstract film by Oskar Fischinger
- the super 8-camera is gonna be his best friend
- finally, with a glass of champagne, you can almost hear him say: "Get on with your life"

Cut. Back on the Reeperbahn Karl gets on the bus, in the distance we see the big wheel of the fairground, shining so bright. And on his way home, he thinks to himself: I knew it all along, the perception of music always includes the past, the present and the future.

THE END

"Without A Trace Of Emotion" is taken from the new Karl Bartos album "Off The Record" - out now! Further details: karlbartos.com

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