Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vibelung: Circuitflu - Now available at

Changing things up a bit, Academik's second EP veers into techno territory with the contagious vibe of Circuitflu.

The original mix is a mutant hybrid of minimal techno fused with hints of clever IDM, courtesy of Dallas-based electro/techno DJ, Vibelung (aka Jimmy Freer). With Circuitflu, Freer's approach to minimal blends clever robot voices with pounding 808-style kicks and a synth riff that evokes the Knight Rider theme without reeking of irony or litigation.

Francis Prève's reinterpretation of Circuitflu turns up the boom with his infectious brand of techno, gene-spliced with a strand of DNA from the better strains of electro. Starting with a handclap-heavy dark groove reminiscent of classic Peace Division, Prève's remix builds to a massive peak that bounces and throbs its way into one of Preve's trademark rising leads. The result is a big room monster that's guaranteed to pack summer floors both at peak-time and after-hours.

Here's what some of the world's top DJs are saying about the Circuitflu EP:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ableton Preset: Mattel Synsonics

In the pantheon of vintage analog drum machines, there's an unsung classic that isn't from a big name manufacturer like Roland or Korg, but from a toy company. Released in 1981, the Mattel Synsonics was an affordable black box that housed a fully analog kit consisting of kick, two toms, snare, cymbal and hi-hat - all playable via velocity sensitive pads.

Of course, since it was a "toy", few artists took it very seriously - with one notable exception: Kraftwerk.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Freeware: Togu Audio Line synths & effects

When it comes to free - and I mean literally free - plug-ins, one of my favorite companies is Togu Audio Line.

Their filters, vocoder, reverb, and softsynths like Bassline (pictured above) and Elek7tro ooze presence and character. In fact, I'm using the TAL-Bassline on one of my newest tracks. Their Juno-60 emulation's pretty darn good too.

Available for both Mac and PC.

Here's the link. Check 'em out.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just stumbled across this site yesterday.

Definitely worth checking out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Magic New Wave Time Machine #5

Now before you accuse Spandau Ballet of ripping off early Duran Duran, you might want to check the date on this track (1980) since it came out a year before Duran's first album (1981).

Yeah, it's like THAT.

Before they got into producing pop that even my Aunt Suzi likes, Spandau Ballet were purveyors of edgy New Romantic brilliance like this barely-known gem: "To Cut A Long Story Short"

(And for synth trivia buffs, it's a Roland ProMars Compuphonic that Gary Kemp's playing.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Free Bootleg: This Back & Forth Rhythm

This month's bootleg is a bit of a departure - and very much a labor of love.

Last month, one of my favorite area DJs, Remington Steele, dropped this track at the Academik Records photoshoot at Austin über-club, Kingdom. I kinda dropped everything and ran to the DJ booth and asked "What is THIS!?!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ableton Preset: Sine Of The Times

Ah, the sine wave...

For years, I have referred to this wonderful little waveform as "the atom of sound". Without the sine wave, no other waveform could exist, since every complex or single-cycle wave is comprised entirely of sine waves - whether they are harmonically related or a cacophony of chaotic tones.

So, as an exercise, I created this month's preset - Sine Of The Times - out of two single sine waves an octave apart, just to see if I could make it do as many tricks as possible via clever macro assignments.

The result exceeded my expectations and hopefully yours too.

To prove this, the Sine Of The Times Live set is comprised of four sequences that all use the same patch as their starting point.

Track 1 is a hip-hop style jeep bass that consists of a single low sine wave. Classic. Timeless.

Track 2 is a soprano/choir patch that's reminiscent of the lead from Real Life's "Send Me An Angel" (or if you prefer, the original Star Trek theme).

Track 3 is a plucky sequence with a touch of pitch bend in each note's attack.

Track 4 is a fairly accurate recreation of the legendary Roland TR-808 tom/conga that can be further modified via the macros.

All from the same pair of sine waves, with a touch of chorus and reverb.


- I'm posting the patch within a Live Set, as opposed to a Live Pack or single preset, so you can hear the patch with example clips and twist the macro knobs to see what's what. If you like it, then hit the preset save button on the macro and add it to your Library.
- The patch will run on Ableton Live 7.0.18 or higher.
- What you see/hear is what you get. I tested it on a couple of systems and the Zip file works as expected.

Download Sine Of The Times

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

William A: Alpha - Now available at

In case you missed it last week, my label - Academik Records - just released its first EP: William A's new single, "Alpha", which is now available at

Here's what some of the world's top DJs are saying about "Alpha":

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ableton Preset: Wavescraper

A few weeks back, I got a request to post a tutorial and/or tips piece on Saturator. Since there's already a lot of coverage for Ableton's nifty digital distortion device, I decided to go one better and create a preset that utilizes a more exotic attribute of Saturator: Waveshaping.

An interesting detail about waveshaping is that it works best on audio with very little harmonic content, like sine or triangle waves - or strongly lowpass filtered source material.

A few years back, I did an Instrument Rack for Live 6 that used this technique as a synthesis tool. Of course, that was ages ago and I've refined the technique a bit more, so I decided to revisit the production methods and whip up a new patch: Wavescraper.

Thursday, June 2, 2011 Launches

A former student of mine - and genuine Ableton whiz - Kendall Clark, just launched his very own Ableton tips and tutorials site.

The first post is a nice little tutorial on using Auto Pan for gating effects - and if I know Kendall, things are going to get really deep in no time.

Bookmark and visit often. I promise it will be worth your while.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Academik - Exclusive Preview: William A - "Alpha"

Academik Records posted an exclusive preview of our first release.

We're getting support from an amazing array of the world's top DJs.

Really proud of this package. So if you dig it too, please spread the word!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Magic New Wave Time Machine #4

Instead of an awkward, craptastic traipse through down the dark alleys of vintage New Wave videos, this week we'll take a look at an obscure classic from Thomas Dolby's early years.

Prior to the "Blinded Me With Science" debacle, Dolby made some really great electropop - much of which was accompanied by (for their time) cutting edge video and images.

One of those vids was for a track called "Radio Silence".

Chock full of imagery that predates the Steampunk movement by about 20 years, "Radio Silence" also includes a cameo by Lene Lovich, who is a story unto herself.

Here's the vid.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Free Bootleg: Cowbell Matters

One of my first tracks on Different Pieces/Armada was a deep techno groover called "Less Cowbell". Earlier this year, I fluffed it by mating it with the drums from Mark Knight's dub of Faithless' "Music Matters".

This month, I included the "Cowbell Matters" reboot in my May podcast - as well as posting the original Ableton Operator 808 Cowbell preset to my blog as a download.

Makes sense to post the bootleg to my Soundcloud page too, so here it is.


Download "Cowbell Matters" - Francis Preve 2011 Reboot - Prève vs Faithless vs Knight

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Less Cowbell Operator Patch

Back in 2009, I released a track on Different Pieces/Armada called Less Cowbell

Earlier this month, I rebooted the track with updated drums and used it in my May podcast. [Update: I've since posted the full reboot as a free download.]

The core sound in Less Cowbell is based on an custom Ableton Live Operator patch that deconstructs the original TR-808 analog cowbell sound.

To commemorate the original release in 2009, Peter Kirn's Create Digital Music blog posted a piece on the making of the track - along with a downloadable version of the Operator patch - so producers could see how it was done and tinker with the sound itself.

I was going to post a link to the original article here, but I've since made a few revisions to the info and download, so I'm posting a new Live Set that includes the patch - and a sequence to get you started with the macros.

The set is compatible with Live 7.0.18 or higher - and requires Operator (but it will still work in demo mode, even if you don't own this little wündersynth).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Got MeeBlip?

Just got my MeeBlip last week and I'm in loooooove.

Peter Kirn (from Create Digital Music) and James Grahame (of Retro Thing fame) have a winner on their hands with this affordable, hackable digital synth. It's a duuuurty little guy and you can expect to see some loops from this in the coming weeks.

It's got a very cool, unique, edgy sound... And at a price of less than $200, I'm certain that the MeeBlip is gonna be a massive hit.

The MeeBlip blog can be found here. Check it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 2011 Podcast

My May 2011 Podcast is now online. Download it here.

Tracklist after the jump

Friday, May 13, 2011

Magic New Wave Time Machine #3

A evidenced by the "Pop Musik" video last month, 1979 really was a seminal year for synthpop hitting the mainstream.

While this track - "Computer Games", by the horrifically named Mi-Sex - was barely a hit anywhere but Australia and New Zealand, that doesn't make it any less relevant. Listen closely and you'll hear some of the punchiest drums of its time.

Again, the video is a total relic, but it's amazing to consider that a mere 32 years ago, the power of an iPhone took up an entire room.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ableton Preset: Tuvanism

One of this season's trends in EDM tracks is a focus on voice-like synth sounds. Pleasurekraft's 2010 hit "Tarantula" is one of the main influences for this synthesis technique.

Whenever a new sound hits the clubland zeitgeist, I'll find myself spending spare time analyzing the timbres and textures and reverse-engineering the techniques for future reference. For this particular trend, I've found myself experimenting with vocoders and formant filters.

What's a formant filter?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Magic New Wave Time Machine #2

I think I'd rather have my mom walk in while I'm masturbating than get caught watching this video.

It's ghastly. Just ghastly.

The dancers alone could turn Camille Paglia into a misogynist.

That said, "Dancing In Heaven" by Q-Feel is still fairly well known in new wave circles - especially considering it was a 1982 finalist in the ever-cheesy Eurovision awards.

Enjoy with the door locked.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hot As Hades - Now available on Beatport

While sound design is a major passion of mine, music is my first love and the core of everything I do.

One track I'm particularly proud of is my latest remix for Josh Gabriel's Winter Kills project with Meredith Call. Their newest single - "Hot As Hades" - was released this week on Beatport and there's a lot of tasty synth programming in my remix, along with a throbbing subsonic low-end, a la "Yin/Yang".

The advance promo is getting support from rockstar DJs like tyDi, Dave Dresden and Kristina Sky, which has made me quite proud indeed.

Here's hoping you like it too - and if you do, please buy it instead of searching the blogs. We artists really do depend on your support. 'Nuff said :)

Preview "Hot As Hades" at

Monday, April 25, 2011

Production Tips From The Pros

In the past year, I've done a series of Producers' Roundtables for Keyboard Magazine - much like my Production Master Classes for Beatportal back in the day.

For Keyboard, I queried some household names like Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode) and Wolfgang Gartner, a bunch of Beatport gods like Josh Gabriel, Jaytech, Boom Jinx, Richard Dinsdale, Patch Park and former students of mine, Tritonal. Dan Kurtz from Dragonette and veteran sound designer/remixer, Josh Harris also make appearances.

Only a few of the pieces have made it online so far, but I thought I'd share them anyway. If you want to stay on top of the series, you'll simply have to subscribe to Keyboard, I guess.

Links after the jump...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Slim Phatty Loop Six-pack

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Moog's new Slim Phatty has become one of the cornerstones of my sound for 2011. Oh sure, I'm still madly in love with my Oberheim SEM for its raw aggression, Vermona Mono Lancet for its versatility, and Doepfer Dark Energy for its micro modulararity, but for rafter-shaking bass and in-your-face leads, the Phatty is my go-to synth.

I just reviewed it for Keyboard and the details are in the current issue, but if you want to know why I'm head over heels for this beastie, check out this six-pack.

Six loops. All yours. Royalty free. Have fun.

Links after the jump...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Billy's Discount Robot Emporium

Fellow Sentinel and kick-ass DJ in his own right, Billy Jay, just released his Spring 2011 Podcast - the aptly named "Billy's Discount Robot Emporium". It's a treasure trove of tasty techno. Promise.

While we're on the topic of Sentinels, it's worth mentioning that our debut remix - for William A's "Alpha" on Academik Records - will be hitting Beatport in mid-May.

2011 is turning into a big year, so get a taste now.

Here's the Soundcloud link to Billy's Discount Robot Emporium.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Bootleg: SpaceBalls (Gartner vs WhoDaFunk)

Holiday parties are always a source of strange inspiration when it comes to bootlegs.

Last Christmas, I was hanging out with William A in the studio, listening to Wolfgang Gartner's "Space Junk". When the first breakdown hit, William said "You know what acapella would sound amazing over this? 'Shiny Disco Balls' by Who Da Funk"

Fortunately, I had the acapella catalogued and handy. (Oh, the joys of OCD.)

I needed more cool bootlegs for my 2010 New Years Eve set with Gabriel & Dresden at Hollywood Palladium, so I threw "Space Junk" and "Shiny Disco Balls" into Ableton Live and KABOOM! It worked flawlessly.

The next night, I spent an hour or so getting the vocals arranged and mixed. Probably the fastest bootleg I've ever done, actually.

For a while I called it "Shiny Disco Junk", until another dear friend - Austin videographer, Seabrook Jones (who incidentally shot the Winter Kills "My Friend" video, but I digress...) - blurted out, "That's DUMB. Call it 'SpaceBalls'!"

Ah, teamwork. (Download link after the jump.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Magic New Wave Time Machine #1

New York, London, Paris, Munich... Everybody talk about...

"Pop Musik" - M

While this little gem from 1979 was a massive worldwide hit, you rarely hear it anymore on radio or the Interwebs, so here's a little reminder that Electronic Dance Music is over 30 years old.

Everything about the track is cheesy as fuck, but you can still hear echoes of those analog synths on Beatport today.

(And the one chick looks kinda like my mom, back in the day...)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Winter Kills "Hot As Hades" (Francis Prève Remix)

My remix for the new Winter Kills single, "Hot As Hades", will be released next week.

Here's a preview...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ableton Preset: Gillette

This month's preset is an homage to my favorite new softsynth, NI's RAZOR.

Yeah, yeah, I've been going on about RAZOR incessantly since it came out, but savvy readers know that I just don't gush unless a synth is incredible - and RAZOR is truly incredible.

So I got to thinking... How do I capture some of that magic in an Ableton preset that's compatible with Live, without using Operator as its core?

The result is a simple additive instrument called "Gillette".

For starters, I created four single-cycle waves: fundamental (1st harmonic), odd harmonics, even harmonics, and prime-numbered harmonics. Then I placed each in its own Simpler and placed those Simplers inside an Instrument Rack.

From there, I added the following macros:

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 2011 Podcast

A few days late, I know, but here's an hour's worth of tracks that have been rocking my floors for the past month.

Download away!

Musikmesse Gear That Grabbed My Ass

When it comes to synth exotica, this year's Musikmesse was one of the best I've seen in years. No, no, no... I was too busy with Academik to make the trek, but considering I've already had my grubby mitts on a couple of these delights, I can safely say that the world of synthesis has been going through a bit of a renaissance lately.

Here's a rundown of my favorite products of this show. It is by no means comprehensive, it's just the stuff that I plan to either buy, review, or recommend.

[Update: Some browsers are having problems displaying this piece's layout, notably Safari. Not sure what's going on, since I've posted numerous YouTube videos in the past without incident. Looks great in Firefox, for what that's worth... Apologies...]


With three months of teasing and rumors, Roland's Jupiter-80 made one of the biggest splashes in tradeshow history - and I'm not just saying that because I designed a fuckton of its presets.

This performance-centric synth sports a three-oscillator analog-modeled synth, Roland's new SuperNATURAL modeling/sampling technology, massive array of world-class effects, and a whopping 256 voices, making it worthy of its $3999 price tag.

How does it sound? Well, having had one in my studio for nearly four months, I can tell you first-hand that it's a true beast of a synth with a VERY Roland vibe. Kind of like a menage a trois between a Jupiter-8, D-50, and Fantom X8 - but targeted directly at live performance.

Howard Jones also designed a bunch of the Jupiter sounds and gives his take on the beastie in the YouTube video above.

Hella cool.

More gear porn after the jump...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tyrell Nexus 6 - Free Softsynth from

As you're probably aware by now, I love free stuff.  Especially free synth stuff designed by Urs Heckmann (creator of Zebra).

I haven't had a chance to play with it personally, but it looks rather badass and I'm gonna give it a whirl this weekend.

More info (in German) and download links here.

(I'd post the Google Translation, but it's a bit more nonsensical than usual...)

Have fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Building A Desktop Modular System

2010 was the year I turned my entire studio into a modular synth.

No shit. Pretty much anyone can do it for about the cost of a MacBook Pro. Seriously.

So, Keyboard Magazine asked me to write an article/tutorial about it.

Here it is.

Happy Monday!

(Photo credit: Seabrook Jones for

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This & That #7

One of my all-time favorite periodicals - New Scientist - has posted a very cool video on building your own Sonic Crystal.

What's a Sonic Crystal? Go here.

These are about as cool as it gets. And my birthday's only a week away!!!

Earlier this month, I was asking the guys over at Switched On if anyone had made a decent Roland VP-330 softsynth. Well apparently, someone did - and if it's Windows-only, I'm gonna key their Chevy.

Free shit and more info after the jump...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Download: NI RAZOR Loop Six-pack

Just snagged the Native Instruments' RAZOR Reaktor synth that I blogged about yesterday.

Developed in conjunction with Berlin electronica artist, Errorsmith, this ensemble is targeted at the Dubstep community, but there's a helluva lot more to it than that.

With its über-pretty FFT display of harmonic motion, tons of really unique filters and a couple of beat-synced LFOs, RAZOR makes a deep cut into additive synthesis territory (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).

So, I decided to beat everyone to the punch and drop a RAZOR-edged free loop six-pack on ya, so you can get a taste for yourself.

Tech notes and linkage after the jump...

Download: Opening Set for Gabriel & Dresden at SXSW 2011

A lot of people have asked if I recorded my opening set for Gabriel & Dresden at last week's reunion show at SXSW.

Why, yes. Yes, I did.

So here it is. Perfect for workouts, road trips, or long walks on the beach...

Download Opening Set for Gabriel & Dresden at SXSW 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Virtual Monotron

In honor of Korg's incredible wündertoy, the Monotron, here's a virtual version to test drive.

Beware. It's addictive.

Java-heavy applet after the jump.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Academik SXSW Launch Event Update

Man, this week is just cuh-razy. Planning a label launch is hard work...

That said, the Ableton t-shirts are in. The Korg Monotrons are here, as are the Bleeplabs Thingamagoop 2s. The Avid/M-Audio Venom is looking pretty in its box - and we've got a ton of Propellerhead beanies to go along with the copies of Reason Record Duo we're giving away. It looks like a friggin' Guitar Center at Academik HQ.

But that's how we like it :)

Just as cool - maybe moreso - the Secret Panda Society played me some of their newest tracks and well, I'm more than a little blown away by what I'm hearing. Today and tomorrow, we're working on a couple of tech house collabs in The Danger Room. Seriously good stuff. Brace yourself for an amazing show this Friday.

Buzz is growing. Tweets are flowing.

More event info here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Ableton Preset: Arkade

Taking the occasional break from launch activities, I've been fiddling around with this preset for a couple of weeks and I think it's ready to release into the wild.

Arkade is designed to emulate 8-bit video game sounds, with a few effects like bitcrushing and highpass filtering thrown in for good measure.


Rate: Adjusts tempo-synced arpeggiation rate
Length: Adjusts duration of arpeggiated notes
Range: Determines maximum upward range of arpeggiation
Step Size: Varies the step size from 0 steps (only held notes are apeggiated) to one octave (classic octave jumping arpeggiation)
Octave 1: Introduces an additional square wave, one octave higher.
Octave 2: Introduces an additional square wave, two octaves higher.
Bitcrush: Bitcrushing amount
HiPass: Highpass cutoff frequency

Notes and download link after the jump...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Polymoog Surrealism

Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Michael Boddicker, and MIMES!

Oh yeah, and the Polymoog.

This promo video redefines the word "surreal"...

Part 2 after the jump...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This & That #6

I've been too busy working on this to worry about that.

Back in the saddle after SXSW. Promise.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Sometimes it's the little things in life that make you smile the most...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This & That #5

MeeBlip Reference Guide

A few weeks back, we investigated the MeeBlip - a hackable desktop digital synth that's more than a little innovative. 

This week, posted a link to the MeeBlip's reference guide, which is not only robo-in-depth, but actually teaches the reader the essentials of subtractive synthesis.

If you're wondering why I'm so jazzed about an inexpensive digital synth, check out the MeeBlip SoundCloud page. The little beast oozes character in ways that most digital synths don't, simply because it's not trying to be an analog emulation. The MeeBlip just uses the same architecture.

Bottom line? I want one.

Expect a six-pack in the coming weeks :)

More tidbits and free stuff after the jump...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free Loops: Korg Monotron Sixpack #1

Last week, fellow Sentinel Billy Jay and I were tinkering with our Korg Monotrons and I decided to record the experiments. Since Billy's a bit of a Monotron virtuoso, the results were worthy of posting as a Sixpack.

We really dig the Monotron, not 'cause it's cute like a little raccoon, but because it's duuuurty. So don't expect pristine little riffs. That's not what it's about.

Loop links and tech notes after the jump...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yamaha CS-60 Synthesizer Demo

My bf(f) in highschool used to have this synth.

God, what I'd give to snag one now...

(via Matrixsynth)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Bootleg: The Reward Is Our Night

For my New Year's Eve gig with Gabriel & Dresden at the Hollywood Palladium, I re-booted a bunch of my older remixes to get the crowd going.

One of the big hits of the night was "The Reward Is Our Night" which mashes my remix of "This Is Our Night" by Sander Kleinenberg with the grooves from "The Reward Is Cheese" and "Community Funk" by Deadmau5.

The combo is apparently quite explosive, so I'm sharing it with the world via my SoundCloud account.

Download The Reward Is Our Night

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Five Tips For Perfecting Your Arrangements

Making an eight-bar groove with cool riffs and funky drums is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I mean, think about it... How many "brilliant ideas" do you have on your hard drive that would be huge Beatport hits if you just took the time to finish them? Yeah, like I said, it's the groove that's easy. The work is all in the arrangement of the track. Great music with a crap arrangement just isn't compelling.

It's the story, stupid.

Let's face it, crafting an arrangement is a massive, time-consuming chore. Some producers really get into it and focus, but others - like me, actually - find this part of the process a gigantic pain in the ass. I just wanna make neat sounds and wiggly grooves.

Well, short grooves are great if you want to carve out a future making loop libraries. The world needs those too. But if you want to be an "ah-tist" you'll have to buckle down and get to work. So here are a few things to think about as you create your masterpieces.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This & That #4 posted a wonderful history of Roland synths, with tons of sexy pictures. Naturally, someone took all that gear porn and made a seizure-inducing animated GIF.

Create Digital Music has a brilliant tutorial on turning that old cassette deck in your closet into a nifty little analog saturation effect.

One of the artists I'm working with these days is an extraordinary guitarist, DJ, producer, teacher, and Zen badass named Shreddward. He has some top-notch tech house tracks in the pipeline and recently added some moody guitar parts to a track I'm working on. Now, he's got his own blog too.

It's been a fun week for free stuff too... More info after the jump.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Thoughts On The Monotron

Korg's Monotron is absolutely one of the coolest little synths that has come my way.

It's real analog.

It fits in your pocket.

It's under a hundred bucks.

And you can actually run audio through its synth engine.

I've done two reviews for it, so if you want a deeper look into my opinions on this affordable wündertoy, check them out.

Review links after the jump...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

William A - Push The Umbrella (free MP3)

One of my star pupils and Armada artist, William A, had a bunch of great releases last year: "Tall Glass", "Shot Glass", "Umbrella", along with quite a few well-received remixes.

Maybe I'm a tad biased, 'cause we've spent so much time hanging out in the studio - but it's obvious that I'm not the only one who's into his sound, since he's received support from superstars like Pete Tong and Dave Seaman.

For my February minimix, I played his latest bootleg, "Push The Umbrella", which mashes up William's "Umbrella" with Nightcrawlers' "Push The Feeling On" - a totally unexpected combo that works really, really well.

I asked William if he'd post it to his SoundCloud account, so I could share it with ya and he was 100% down, so here it is.

Download William A - Push The Umbrella

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here's Some Really Freaky Shit

Okay, now that I've got your attention, let's look into this thing called Cymatics.

In really simple terms, Cymatics is a study of how sound interacts with matter. It does so in extremely complex ways, some of which are truly mind-boggling.

At the beginning of each semester, I show a few of these videos to the students in my Synthesis 1 classes. As you will see, this material is both spellbinding and slightly humbling - especially if you have an iota of mysticism in your soul.

I don't claim to know what the fuck is going on here. Fortunately, neither do the researchers, though there appears to be something deeply important about this relatively new field.

Maybe god really is a DJ.

More videos after the jump...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

This & That #3

CreateDigitalMusic takes a good, hard look at the Korg Kronos. And by good and hard, well, you know what I mean...

Back in black, I hit the sack, I've been too long I'm glad to be back. Well, Waldorf's Blofeld is at least. (via SonicState).

Native Instruments have updated and rebranded their Audio 4 DJ and Audio 8 DJ interfaces with additional channels, now they're called the Traktor Audio 6 and Traktor Audio 10.

Whooooooooaaaa. I totally slept on Propellerhead's YouTube channel, which is packed with cool Reason tutorial videos. Peep it.

Steinberg has announced version 3.5 of their VST plug-in spec. Depending on how many developers adopt these new features, this is either massive news or a non-event. Either way, there's some interesting stuff in there. (via Synthtopia)

Memory Lane department: Somehow, a Spanish blog has gotten their hands on a copy of Sons & Lovers' independently released 1985 EP. Considering there are probably less than 500 copies in circulation, this is nothing short of astonishing. The fact that I was literally in the process of having someone convert it to MP3 next week is even stranger. Oh yeah, Sons & Lovers was my first band...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Want another Ableton preset?

So, instead of watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, I spent some time in the studio with Academik artist, badass DJ, and all-around Zen good guy, Shreddward.

We were reminiscing about those silky electronic strings from countless 70s and 80s tracks. Like the lead in Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" or (when accompanied by a phaser) those riffs and pads in all of Duran Duran's early hits.

Interestingly, one of the synths that excelled at this particular sound was the ARP Quadra I blogged about yesterday.

So, while I was showing Shredd how the sound was done, I realized I'd whipped up another patch for this blog.

For usability, I added a few macros (including a phaser for that authentic Nick Rhodes goodness) and uploaded it to my server.

Notes and download link after the jump...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ARP Quadra Lust...

One synth I have always wanted is basically impossible to find in proper working order.

The ARP Quadra.

It's not particularly glamourous or powerful, but it's unique beyond words and I've always felt compelled to have one.

Sonicstate just delivered the heads up on a wonderfully acceptable substitute.

Here's the YouTube vid:

Academik Records? Really?

Coming soon...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Five Essential Tech Tools for Starting Your Studio

Every time I play a gig, someone inevitably asks for advice on getting started with a home studio or DJ rig. Since talking tech is my favorite pastime (next to actually making tracks) I usually end up staying up way past my bedtime answering these questions – with a grin on my face.

In the interest of getting more sleep on the road, I've assembled a list of the five major considerations in putting together a rig of your own. This info is current as of February 2011 and I'll be updating it periodically as new products supercede older ones.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This & That #2

Now that the Super Bowl is over, time to go back to being a geek...

Analog Badassery Alert

Tom Oberheim is at it again. This time he's recreating the original Oberheim four-voice as the "Son Of 4 Voice" - a modern-day take on the legendary semi-programmable behemoth.

Here are a few tidbits about it to whet your appetite:
Son Of 4 Voice image
- Son Of 4 Voice audio examples
- main page

Beatportal Tutorials Permalink

Just posted a permanent page to my blog, so you can easily find the Beatportal tutorials and RA glossary.

William A February 2011 Minimix

Armada recording artist and good buddy of mine, William A, has posted his latest DJ set here.

More linkee goodness after the jump...

Hip Hop Girl in a Techno Club

A buddy of mine made this last year and it still cracks me up... Priceless.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dubspot Online

Hardcore Ableton fans already know this, but if you're looking to get schooled on Live then you need to check out Dubspot Online.

I've done a few seminars for them and can attest that they are 100% legit and have some of the most knowledgeable instructors I've encountered in my career.

Doesn't hurt that they're really nice guys too.

Really doesn't hurt that they've got Jon Margulies on the team too.

So if you want to go deeper into Ableton Live and can't make it to Austin to take my classes, this is your best bet for real education on electronic music production.

Really. Check 'em out. Namaste.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Amazing EMS Documentary (YouTube)

Just stumbled across this documentary on legendary 60's British synth manufacturer, EMS.

Check it.

Parts 2 & 3 after the jump.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Exclusive: Choppers #1 Loop Sixpack

Last night, I apent a couple of hours screwing around with gated effects in Live. Some cool stuff happened… Y'know, somewhere between that Afrojack thing and trance, but neither - or both. Your call.

Either way, I ended up with a new sixpack of loops for you to fool around with in your spare time.

Tech notes:
- All loops are 128 BPM.
- All loops are eight bars long.
- What you see/hear is what you get. I tested it on a couple of systems and the Zip file works as expected.

Download Choppers #1 Sixpack (AIFF format)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Synthesizer & Effect Glossary

One of my toughest writing assignments last year was creating a comprehensive glossary of synthesizer and studio technology terms for Resident Advisor.

Man oh MAN was that gig intense. Writing, re-writing, cross-referencing, and going over everything with a fine-toothed comb to ensure it was clear, concise and accurate.

Massive. Simply massive.

Resident Advisor's Tech Glossary

(As an aside, I've also created a dedicated page for my Beatportal tutorials, so you can easily find them.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Exclusive: February 2011 - Francis Prève Minimix

Last week, I did a guest mix and interview for Hypersonic Radio.

This week, I'm posting that mix as a free download on SoundCloud for your listening pleasure

Here's the SoundCloud link.


Full tracklisting after the jump...

January 2011 Blog Poll Results

Last month, I did a survey on this blog design:

Should I actually do a real design for this blog or just say "Fuck It" and let the content speak for itself?

A glitzy design would really help improve your brand. (11%)
Who cares? I just wanna know what's on your mind. (44%)
When you get a chance, cool. Until then, this is robo-fine. (33%)
Polls? WTF? (10%)

So I'm just gonna keep chillin' and doing what I'm doing... Which is trying to make this blog the best it can be.

If you get a sec, vote on this month's survey.

Monday, January 31, 2011

My Five Desert Island Plug-ins (February 2011)

Mike Cobb asked me to post an entry about my five must-have plug-ins, which is a very difficult task for a few reasons.

For one thing, there are literally thousands of great plug-ins out there. Synths, effects, EQs... Everyone knows this drill, so filing it down to five means leaving out some really great software.

On the other hand, I'm extremely finicky about what software ends up living on my machine. More plug-ins means more maintenance, upgrades, compatibility - and if you decide to collaborate or share tracks, then you need to render what the other party doesn't have.

In the end, I just went with the facts: These truly are the plug-ins that I use regularly and know intimately.

So here goes...