Recommended by us on 10th July 2012.
Karen Novotny X was a short lived electronic project based in Hackney, East London and comprised three members; Cy Levene, Anna Bloom and Niko Nicolotti. Meeting and formulating ideas at the London School of Economics and the Slade School of Art around the dawn of 1978.
They resided in a number of East London squats and set up makeshift studios with borrowed equipment and Synthesisers purchased by Levene. A creative rush between the spring of 1978 and the summer of 1979, saw them recording a plethora of music primarily influenced by Disco, a number of key Italian composers, Throbbing Gristle, Krautrock and the industrial sounds coming out of Bloom’s hometown of Sheffield, not to mention an obsession for Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”.
This intense 2 year period took it’s toll on this very close and guarded threesome and they soon found themselves heading off in three directions. Bloom back to her hometown of Sheffield whilst Niko was enlisted to the Italian Army. The tapes -which included last year’s quick sell out GPS 5 trk 7” and cassette- have been coaxed from the reclusive Levene who now resides in Brussels; and leaves the KN X archives empty, with the release of this full length.
So what are we left with? Well Levene now looks back on this short, but eminently fruitful period claiming they were trying to make electronic / disco themed pop music in an attempt to get on to TV. While disco may have been at the heart of KN X, a very different beast lurks within. An often dark, unsettling narrative set to simple drum machines, synthesisers, sequences and the isolated, almost childlike vocals of Cy Levene and Anna Bloom puts this shortlived project into a whole new genre.
An LP -and series of recordings- that it’s creators imagined forever lost to the masses, now seems set to earn itself a key role as main hitter in the murky, yet increasingly researched world of mid to late 70s minimal synth. An extraordinary LP proudly released by The Great Pop Supplement, numbered to 500 white vinyl copies with hand stamped library inner bags and collage insert.
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