John Bartmann

Cape Town, SA

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Pravda23 is a musical outfit from Cape Town, South Africa. Taking cues from groove music across a number of genres, Pravda23 is led by multi-instrumentalist and musical director John Bartmann, and features a variety of session artists, inculding acclaimed scratch DJ Knucklez, and classical guitarist and pianist James Harris. Their music is a cross section of danceable electronic beats and live performance, often featuring live violin, keyboard, guitar, turntables, djembe drums, knives, forks, tables, stomping feet, and various other percussive instruments.

Pravda23 can be compared to artists such as Röyksopp, Telepopmusik, Moby, Daft Punk, Massive Attack, Underworld, The Bays, Robert Miles, Plaid, Zero7, Telefon Tel Aviv, Air, Portishead, Goldfrapp, Leftfield, and St Germain, amongst others. Imagine sparse vocals, dense basslines and powerful synthesizer stabs, arrhythmic trip-hop violin pizzicato, glitchy patches of intelligent dance music programming and haunting violin overlays. A magnificent hybrid of live and programmed audio.

Bartmann began his music career at the age of three, playing from his older sister’s piano books, and later studied the instrument at elementary and high school. He started taking violin lessons at the age of 10, but dropped them when he was 15 to focus on self-taught guitar, drums and African drums. The violin would later prove his main passion, and was picked up again twelve years later after receiving an amazing response to live violin electronica from the South African crowds.

In 2004, Bartmann began the well-trodden path of bedroom composer and began creating electronic music at home. South African bandwidth issues proved a constant problem for the uploading of the various completed tracks. However, it is essentially the power of the Internet that has inspired the creation of Pravda23, which was originally merely a distribution experiment in releasing tracks via raw RSS feeds rather than on CD. The tagline “Update Your Music” became a ubiquitous companion to the ghostly project logo. | update your music

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  1. Jordan Clarke