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?