Consistency and quality-control aren't always necessarily in plentiful supply in the ever-shifting, fast turnover world of Dance music. One artist who most definitely eschews that statement is erstwhile New Yorker, Matthew Dear.
Since2003'sDog Daysfirst made the dancerati prick up their ears, Dear has continued to innovate rather than imitate, releasing a slew of albums showcasing his unique blend of angular, glitch-ridden pop songs imbued with a sardonic, lyrical world view.
New outing,Beams, is certainly no exception. Taking its lead fromBlack City, its brooding electronic predecessor,Beamsgives further flesh to Dear's fusion of dancefloor rhythms, off-kilter hooks and strange tales well told.
When FM caught up with him, he was in-between studios, having decamped from his Brooklyn apartment to an idyllic new home-cum-musical-HQ in the forest. After the jump we take a tour of some of his favourite bits of studio gear.
Doepfer Dark Time sequencer
“I wish more companies would take Doepher’s lead. This little box is the perfect pairing of digital and analogue. It’s an amazing sequencer, with such a solid, hands-on approach to groove building. CV ins and outs, gates, and all you could ask for to control your analogue gear.
"The clincher however is USB connectivity that allows you to sync everything through your DAW. Everything analogue in my studio communicates through this beautiful little box.”
Retro Intruments Sta-Level
“My vocals get fattened up in here. So warm and mellow, but huge at the same time. Kicks also sound amazing after going through it.”
“I’ve had these Barefoots for almost five years. They were one of my first big purchases for the studio and I’ve never regretted it. You can fake a lot of tricks with inexpensive gear, but not with speakers.”
“I got two of these because Waves were selling them for $50 one random day. The Maxx BCL is right above them. I use the $50 ones to add some bass resonance to my live tracks on stage. Not every venue is good for them.”
“I got this on my trip to Asheville when we played Moogfest. All the people down there at Moog headquarters are just so nice and have such genuine passion for what they do.
"You’d be hard-pressed to find bigger bass than the Moog Voyager. Below, there’s a couple of Moogerfooger pedals too. The Cluster Flux can bend hi-hats into some beautifully elastic rhythms.”
“Lately I’ve been using this more for the sample/hold-style warbled blips. It’s fun to get a completely random and mangled mess sampled, and then loop a section to base an entire song on.
"You can hear this in action at the end of my song Crimewaves, just before it goes into the little reprise at the end.”
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this thing has a mind of its own. The more you push it, the more intelligent it gets. Whether you’re using it for drum patterns, or sample warping, you never end up anywhere near where you started.”