Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’

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Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Press Shot Courtesy Team

For the better part of two decades, Noir has remained planted firmly in the underground. The Danish stalwart came to prominence as a strong house talent, building up a vast repertoire that spanned from deep to tech, even with some slight dabbling into the minimal realm. As more people became enamored by his carefully crafted work in the studio and his excellent curation in the DJ booth, Noir blossomed into a bona fide leader in his field. That being said, the producer is not one to remain stuck in his ways. Over time his style became sleeker and darker, and he’s since switched completely to the driving techno aesthetic we know him for today. His latest EP, Damage Control, is the latest to epitomize his newfound take on club music.

One might argue that evolution is difficult when your tools remain the same, and it seems Noir falls into this camp. He’s built quite the robust studio over time, swapping out pieces and software and discovering new elements for his music in the process. We take a look at his studio today, after over 10 years of fine-tuning it; inside, we discover his love for modular, classic machines, and some key modern pieces. These items offer plenty of room for innovation, and it’s safe to say Noir enjoys using them to their fullest potential.

Order a copy of Damage Control and listen close to hear how the following items played into the record’s production.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 1

The past 2 years I have been getting into modular stuff. I know I am a little late to the party but it actually took me a little bit of self-educating to really figure it out and also find the time to dive fully into it. Now that I have done just that I can’t get enough. I love patching and playing around with it and obviously i chose, bought and build everything myself and will be expanding soon. It’s too big a tour to get into all the various components as there are 19 different modules in that case but in this picture the modular heads can see what I chose for my first case/synth.

On the side is the classic Roland TB-303 for all my acid stuff – something every producer using hardware should have in his/hers setup. And then there’s the Dark Time sequencer from Doepfer which I found very inspiring, quick, easy to use and hands on for doing great sequencing or arps.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour IMAGE2

Alongside the modular synth I build follows the semi-modular stuff. The Moog Grandmother is great as stand-alone but also for patching up with my modular synthesizer and playing my melodies and grooves directly from that + controlling the tempo as well. The Moog Mother-32 + DFAM are great in combination especially if you want to control the tempo of the DFAM which can be done via Mother-32. As DFAM is mainly used for percussion in my productions it’s very important that i can sync the tempos. The 0-Coast from Make Noise in the bottom of the picture is very cool for the more random and weird stuff. It’s a little powerful beast that always surprises me. I also use it for background ambience as it can be patched into “self-playing” mode.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 3

Quite a lot in this picture. In the background is my soundcard from Universal Audio. I think I have had that for 7-8 years now. Very reliable and high quality. The all-black synth is Digitone from Elektron. I bought that mainly to experiment with FM synthesis and it’s really good for that. It’s not the easiest synth to use if you wanna explore outside “presets” as I always do but it’s got great in depth if that’s what you are looking for. Below is an efx unit from Eventide. The H9 just have so many cool efx to spice up your analogue synths and it gives it that little extra that makes it sound spot on – especially when you are jamming around. I don’t like when it’s too dry and plain – so having the ability to add reverb, delay, chorus, etc. on the fly is just great for an analogue setup. My newest synth is right next to it. It’s the quite small Arturia Microfreak. But don’t be fooled by its size – it’s very powerful and intuitive. As it’s my newest piece of gear and it’s the one I am using the most right now. New gear is always exciting, right?

The pedal in the picture is the Expressive E Touché SE which is a very touch sensitive (controlled by your hands) instrument. It’s fantastic to use with analogue stuff but it comes with software and can also be used for vst synths as well. It’s basically capable of doing multiple efx at the time in an easy to use way. Kind of hard to explain. Do yourself a favour and watch some videos on this pedal in action. It’s quite amazing and super inspiring to play around with.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 4

What would a studio be without the Moog Sub37, or actually this is the newer Subsequently37. Go to synth for big bass line and leads. The quality of this synthesizer makes it a joy to work with every time and therefore will always stay a firm favourite in the studio.

Above the Moog is the Novation Peak which sounds amazing. I find it really good for pads especially but it can do everything and it’s a mixed digital + analog synthesizer which makes it different from most of the other synths I own.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour 5

The Korg Minilogue is a classic mini-synth which I feel is a great synthesizer to start out with and one of the first I got. The little display is pretty nice to watch your waveforms and this classic helped me learn how to use everything quite quickly. Today you can get the Minilogue XD which is party digital too and therefore has a lot more possibilities. I might upgrade at some point.

Above is another classic – The Arp Odyssey. It sounds classic. It sounds good. When you need an arp or sequence and you going for old-school sounds this is the one. You gotta know 100% how to control it through or else you won’t get anything good from this synth.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour IMAGE6

These are the midi controllers I use mostly for modular and software stuff.

When using software synth I still have to be hands on and kind touch everything by hand instead of using the mouse. SparkLE is for drums. Arturia Beatstep Pro controls both drums and synths and Keystep is mainly for arps and sequence creation. All of them are very inspiring and easy to use. I also have the Keylab MK II 49 when I need a bigger keybed for my hands on melodies and chords.

All of these are from Arturia and they did an amazing job to create these controllers which I find the best on the market at the moment. Paired with their software V Collection 7 you can’t go wrong. I am a big fan of their products.

Noir offers up a tour of his studio following his latest EP, ‘Damage Control’Noir Studio Tour IMAGE7 STUDIO

That is me in the studio with the track “Autophagy” loaded up in Ableton Live 10 (the only DAW I use). In this picture you can also see my ATC monitors which I never regretted spending those extra $$$ getting into my studio. They are by far the best studio monitors I have ever owned and the only ones I could fully trust when doing my mix downs. I have had them for 5 years now and they are very reliable.

Photo credit: artist management

Mat Zo releases sublime first EP of 2019, ‘Tracing Steps’

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Mat Zo releases sublime first EP of 2019, ‘Tracing Steps’Tracing Steps MatZo

No stranger to crafting genre-warping productions, visionary Mat Zo continues to stun with his newest Mad Zoo release, Tracing Steps. A master of both construction and exploration, the UK artist has traversed through trance, drum and bass, techno, dubstep, and funk—all while maintaining a sound that’s distinctly his. Fans of Damage Control will revel in Tracing Steps, which Zo notes as a return to his earlier work.

The four-track EP packs a heavy punch with each track clocking in around six minutes of listening goodness and featuring an extended version of “Deep Inside,” the single released earlier in March. Diverse yet saturated with classic Zo sounds, Tracing Steps channels a progressive structure overlaid by a complexity of futuristic synths, distortion, and nostalgic bells. From the awe-inspiring “Tracing Steps” to the dark groove funk of “Lust,” Zo exhibits an artful control of stylistic storytelling. In his work, Mat Zo delivers anything but the standard, once again championing a soundscape unlike any other.