Nostramus 2011

Steve Spon (UK Decay, In Excelsis, The Big Eye and Nostramus)-or just plain ‘Spon’ as everybody knows him, is the main man behind Nostramus.

After the demise of progressive trance collective-The Big Eye in 1996, Spon was asked by a then new record label (Recordings of Substance), to put together an album of “Intelligent Drum and Bass”. He had previously been ‘moonlighting’ on the drum and bass style for a number of years whilst working with The Big Eye.

Earthlights, Recordings of Substance, 1997. HEMP005

Earthlights, Recordings of Substance, 1997. HEMP005

The result was ‘Earthlights’ (Recordings of Substance – HEMP 5 CD, HEMP 5 DJV VINYL), it was released in Europe in July 1997 and America (Shadow Records – SDW035-2 ) in March 1998. With contributions from guests including Prince Malachi, Caroline Nische, Derek E. Smith, and the MC13 ~(both from Click Click).

One critic described the ‘Earthlight’s’ sound as;

“Pagan Drum and Bass”  (DJ Mag, June 97),

Earthlights, Shadow Records (US), 1998. SDW035-2

Earthlights, Shadow Records (US), 1998. SDW035-2

another as;

“Seething drum’n’bass, dark sound effects and samples culled from a LSD scared imagination”  (Mix Mag)

Predictions EP, Recordings of Substance. 1997. HEMP 4 -CD

Predictions EP, Recordings of Substance. 1997. HEMP 4 -CD

In 1997 a single called ‘The Predictions EP’ was released, (Recordings of Substance – HEMP 4 – CD & Vinyl)

It featured the tracks ‘Dark Jewel‘ – featuring the vocals of Caroline Nische  and three re-mixes of the title track – ‘Earthlight’ – from the album ‘Earthlights’.

Later in 1997, a Nostramus track ‘Emerald’ appeared on a vinyl ‘split’ on the ‘Hypnagogia’ label (GOG1201 – Vinyl) and another track, ‘Ten Thousand Year Rush’ to a CD compilation (‘Hybrids’ – GOG CD 002) on the same label in 1998.

Later that year a new Nostramus collaboration with guests Caroline Nische and Merlyn Bodrun produced a track called ‘Cerche’ for a Fi Sci Records CD compilation. (‘Eclipse of the Moon and Falling Star’– FSC 001)

NOSTRAMUS 1997 Spon with Caroline Nische and MC13

NOSTRAMUS 1997 Spon with Caroline Nische and MC13. photo by Hugh Byrne

A number of Nostramus tracks appeared on various compilation albums at the end of the nineties, mainly tracks sourced from the album; ‘Earthlights’.

Nostramus also re-mixed tracks for other artists including James Hardware and Slab. Nostramus music has in turn been remixed by, The Sunrise Society, Witchman, Justice and Dark And Lovely.

Bomb Babylon. 1999. Special limited 'Exodus' edition

Bomb Babylon. 1999. Special limited 'Exodus' edition

Later in 1999 an attempt to produce a follow up album, ended in disaster as the recording studio folded before the album was completed.

A limited edition special of 50 copies of the doomed album were produced to celebrate Nostramus’s live performance at the Legendary Exodus  ‘Free The Spirit Festival’ (August 1999)
– the CD album was entitled ‘Bomb Babylon’.

Nostramus went live in 1997 to help promote the releases. The live shows included guests MC13, Caroline Nische (both incidentally, from ‘Potent’), DJ Tryst (from ‘Hypnagogia’), Flo (Drums & Percussion) and sometimes Prince Malachi.

The live show became a regular feature of the Hypnagogia Collectives monthly regular gatherings. These were overnight party’s with an eclectic mix of live performance’s, DJ’s, art installations, light shows, drum workshops all imbued with an atmosphere of brooding drug-fuelled experimentation.

Prince Malachi guests with Nostramus

Prince Malachi guests with Nostramus

The live shows culminated in 1997 and 1998 at the legendary Exodus – ‘Free the Spirit’ festival, in front of an audience of thousands. For these show, international “New Roots Messenger” – Prince Malachi guested on vocals for a couple of songs including ‘Babel’;  it was the highlight of the entire festival for many.

2004 saw a collaboration – ‘Hero Of Bamboo Stick’  (Jolt Records, Jolt001. Vinyl white label 12″ single) – with Mc’s Mention and Golden Child.

Earthlights Re-Mastered 2009, Diamond Seeds Productions, DS-NS-001

Earthlights Re-Mastered 2009, Diamond Seeds Productions, DS-NS-001

In 2009 Nostramus released a re-mastered version of the 1997 album – titled –  ‘Earthlights- Remastered’ (Diamond Seeds Productions DS-NS-001).

Doomsday Dot Com, 2011, Diamond Seeds Productions, DS-NS-002

Doomsday Dot Com, 2011, Diamond Seeds Productions, DS-NS-002

In September 2011 the ‘official’ follow-up (second) album was released, titled – ‘Doomsday Dot Com’ (Diamond Seeds Productions DS-NS-002)

As well as continuing to produce experimental Drum and Bass, Nostramus’s Spon, also plays guitar for the reformed legendary post-punk-goth pioneers – UK Decay.

His guitar playing provided a “unique sound” -sometime angular and aggressive, sometimes dark and psychedelic – helping forge UK Decay’s path towards the emerging ‘Gothic’ style’ during the early 1980’s.

The ‘Doomsday Dot Com’ album, includes a remix UK Decay’s –  ‘Duel’ and ‘Battle of the Elements’. Several other tracks on the album include some of Spon’s “atmospheric’ guitar playing. Also featuring on the DDC album is singer-songwriter Ella Jo, for whom, Spon produced three albums during the late noughties. There are sadly no plans for a return to live performance’s from Nostramus at the time of writing.

The Hidden Core - The Dark Ambience Project, Diamond Seeds Productions, 2010, DS-THC-001

The Hidden Core - The Dark Ambience Project, Diamond Seeds Productions, 2010, DS-THC-001

In 2010 a Nostramus spin-off project materialised with the release of  ‘The Dark Ambient Project’ by ‘The Hidden Core’ (THC).

This came out on Diamond Seeds Productions (DS-THC-001, CD).

As the title suggests, this production was more about dark, brooding and ambient soundscapes with very minimal beats.

“This is the sh*t. I cannot stop listening to this motherf***er. The man behind the muzeek here is spon, and this cat has laid down the most spiritual and earth shaking jungle/dub work that I have ever heard. I highly recommend you check this out if you want to break it down”.

Ink Nineteen, July ’98

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October 29, 2009

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Nostramus: photo by Hugh Byrne



Spon, Caroline Nische, MC13

photo: Hugh Byrne

puts you awake in
a dream. Wondering if it couldbe real. There should be a placewhere you can rest your soul.The future is coming..”

The alchemy that is Nostramus has been around for a long time, manifesting itself in various incarnations going right back to the time of Punk. The Big Eye harnessed this power for a time, but it just wasn’t a sound enough church to accommodate the chaotic uplifting magic that is Spon & Nostramus.

During the summer of 1995, Spon witnessed the excitement of the unfurling drum’n’bass massive, musical horizons
expanding rapidly, new beats opening whole universes to explore, and some
of the wickedest parties, led by the Exodus Collective and their renegade sound system. He could not resist. These experiences led to profound inspiration, which in turn focused on capturing  moods and atmospheres in an invigorating new musical expression.

To avoid the inevitable post-party come down, Nostramus would compose new songs, trying to behold, distil and capture the atmosphere of those transcendental moments. Soon, with enough ideas ready to go, it was time to introduce other people to the project. MC13 and Derek E. Smith were there all along, collecting samples and data, but the cherries on the
cake were still to come….