Review: Nordic Noir by Zero G

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Each kit includes a fully produced theme as well as the separated instruments used to create it. The themes vary greatly with instrumentation ranging from sparse pianos, soft strings and pads through driving cinematic drums, edgy guitars and synths and ambient elements to complement the action.

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Review: Nordic Noir by Zero G

Zero G has been at the forefront of sampled sound for nearly 30 years. They’ve worked with some of the top names in the industry and produced countless loops and sample instruments. With a catalog so broad, it would take me days to define it. With their latest, Nordic Noir, they’ve targeted a very popular niche Television and Film market with an eclectic yet remarkably useful set of loops, aimed unflinchingly at crime, drama, horror and action content producers.

Nordic Noir by Zero-G sells for $53.95 from Time & Space

 

Thoughts

Since author Stieg Larsson’s posthumous tome became an international best seller, the universe has been clambering for stories set in the dark, bleak, cold and seemingly unforgiving Nordic landscape. Be it a psychological thriller, a busy cityscape with intense action around every corner or a story set in a vast, snowy wilderness, Nordic Noir resonates with audiences. With Zero G’s release of Nordic Noir, producers now have access to soundscapes to compliment stories set with stark contrasts, dark themes and chilling crimes.

Included in this title are 32 well-designed kits with titles that lend themselves nicely to their possible use. Tempos range from 60 to 120 bpm. Each kit includes a fully produced theme as well as the separated instruments used to create it. The themes vary greatly with instrumentation ranging from sparse dramatic pianos, soft strings and pads through driving cinematic drums, edgy guitars and synths and ambient elements to compliment the action. Listening through each of the kits evoked precisely the kind of feeling I expected when previewing a title aimed squarely at dramatic scenes and dirty deeds.

Like many of its Zero G brethren, Nordic Noir includes a thoughtful assortment of 250 loops in Acidized wav or Apple AIFF format in “film-ready” 24bit, 48khz standard resolution. Plus, you get 44 Kontakt, EXS24, HALion and Reason NN-XT instruments, making this set a very affordable and useful addition to any producer’s toolbox, regardless of how you like to work. There is plenty of inspiration inside this package and many of the kits or themes are useful right out of the box. There are even a few extra “miscellaneous” loops which can inspire or work as a foundation for your own creations.

In Logic Pro, you have the option of importing only the Apple loops version in the loop browser (pictured on the right in the image above) or, you can drag the entire product folder in to the “untagged loops” section of the file browser as I have done. I typically prefer this method of arranging Apple or Wav files to be more convenient than working with the Kontakt, Reason or EXS24 instruments but I found that, in working with the actual files, they do not always match tempo with the project as listed on the kit folder. This breeds confusion and slows work down. In the example of Kit 32 (pictured above.) The folder describes the project tempo at 60 BPM but the files inside the folder range from 80 to 137 bpm. It took some experimentation to see that the BPM listed on the kit is the correct BPM for the project. Using the Kontakt instrument may have allowed me to discover the correct project tempo much faster.

Pro Tip: I used to love adding and browsing for files in the “Apple Loops Browser. But time has taught me that Using the “untagged loops” method is slightly faster – and for me, it serves as a reminder of the instrument options available within this particular product – such as the Kontakt version of Nordic Noir pictured below.

Using the Kontakt file browser, it’s clear the folder structure is repeated for Kontakt except that instead of folders, each “kit” is its own Kontakt instrument. All the loops found in each folder, can now be “played” or triggered from your keyboard using the keys outlined in blue. While this Kontakt instrument has only a sparse set of controllable parameters, it’s still more control that you may find using the Apple and Wav file versions.

[Zero G Nordic Noir Kontakt Version Screenshot]

Navigating through the Kontakt instruments is fast and easy and its obvious which instrument folder replaces which folder of either Acidized Wav or Apple Loops. Folder 01 is now Instrument 01 and so on. Scroll toward the bottom of this page and you’ll find a treasure trove of pads and extra loops which can be used in mix and Match projects or as standalone points of inspiration. The pads are spectacular and there are plenty of other non-project “extra” loops you can use to further define your sound.

[Zero G Nordic Noir “Extras” Screenshot]

Overall, I think Nordic Noir may be one of the best values I’ve realized from Zero G to date. The 32 construction kits are strong for their intended purpose. They have definitely inspired me to make my own pads and evolving atmospheres and I can almost feel the temperature drop as I work! That’s not a bad thing if you live in Southern California, where “Winter” is defined by weariing T shirts with long sleeves. Nordic Noir may not be for everyone but in my humble opinion, it is a solid bargain at $53 dollars. Kits can be used “as-is” without any manipulation, or use it as inspiration or a foundation from which to build on. Especially so, if you plan to score crime, true crime, drama, mystery or horror in the coming months.

As always, I strongly recommend you investigate this collection fully to be sure it meets your needs. Demos can be found on the product page at Zero-G.com, as well as additional details about this product.

Facts

Fully expanded, Nordic Noir consumes 5.45 GB of hard disk space and is available to download as 3.35 GB of compressed data in 7 compressed files. These break up into 6 files at 524.3 mb each and the final one is 208.8mb.

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Nordic Noir by Zero-G sells for $53.95 from Time & Space

 

Demos of Nordic Noir by Zero G

Videos of Nordic Noir by Zero G

Contributor Steve Blizin reviews Nordic Noir by Zero G
“Each kit includes a fully produced theme as well as the separated instruments used to create it. The themes vary greatly with instrumentation ranging from sparse pianos, soft strings and pads through driving cinematic drums, edgy guitars and synths and ambient elements to compliment the action.”