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Sunday, Dec 08 2013 | 15:29
Image: 1586056 From his origins in Auckland to his adopted home in London, Cern is at the heart of the drum & bass scene. He has assured his place in the music’s upper firmament with more than a half-decade of releases behind him, on labels as critically and popularly acclaimed as Project 51, Dispatch and Commercial Suicide.

His dark, electronic and futuristic style has won plaudits from across the scene, and beyond, and now he is stepping his game up once again with a new release on Renegade Hardware. Get ready to take a trip on board Nostromo.

The Nostromo EP is the perfect fit for Renegade Hardware in 2013, and Cern has found the perfect blend between classic ’97-era vibes and the bangingly up to date. The title track is a close, claustrophobic voyage into the dark, with light only coming forward when the low ends enter. Shimmering bass wraps itself around some interesting drum patterns, as Cern takes you inside his imagination. The producer builds up the levels, as the Nostromo cuts its way through both space and time. One of the best dark, neuro-influenced tracks you’ll hear all year.

Become infected by the Organism next, a collaboration track featuring Subtension, with its silky intro and slow, steady build. Once you are locked into the signal, the track turns around and slams its claws deep into your throat. You’ll be forced to move, forced to groove as Cern lays down a whopper of a bassline. Topped with some clinical drums and synths, this one will shake and storm any dancefloor. Truly monumental, not many other producers could get close to the power of this one.

The third cut, Formless showcases the EP’s progression. Another collaboration track, featuring Russia’s wonder kid Receptor. A wide-open, organic sounding intro leads into a huge, cavernous and booming techno infused main section, dominated by some eerie background noises and explosive bass notes. A series of switching, electronic effects float over the top of the kicks and the snares. Mean, nasty, and scene setting for the rest of the journey.
* Finally, we turn to When The Time Comes. A mellower, contemplative approach comes with this track, A warm, progressive sound developing throughout. Urgent, insistent programming is at the root of this one, with a smooth melody riding along on top. The whole package is completed by a moveable bassline, which keeps things pinned together perfectly. When The Time Comes the last ever track written by the original Cern duo, Ollie and production partner Jon Beck. The track was left unfinished to date, and has been finished by Ollie especially for this release. It acts as a homage to the memory of Jon, who sadly passed away in 2008.

Cern is not afraid to show that he can master a range of different styles, never being content to restrain himself to any one thing.

The Nostromo EP is, put simply, essential Hardware listening, for lovers of good music, no matter the genre or style.

Limited edition vinyl


1. Cern - Nostromo
2. Cern feat. Subtension - Organism
3. Cern feat. Receptor - Formless
4. Cern – When The Time Comes Available from 18.11.2013
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