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.