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Sound designer, technologist, and remix artist Francis Preve sends us some gifts of techno and technology to celebrate his first solo release. For your brain, we’ve compiled the tutorials he’s been working on for Beatportal, which together provide a really great look at some basic music production skills. For your ears, we have his new Ableton-produced single “Caboose” which, coupled with a Josh Gabriel remix – and a free iPhone ringtone exclusively provided to CDM by Josh’s label Different Pieces.

Being a technologist often makes actually finding time to make music a big challenge. But I’ve always been impressed at Fran’s ability to do both. Whether this is your type of music or not, it means that when he talks about techniques, he’s talking about stuff he actually applies in his work – and he has eight Billboard Top 10s to prove his remixing skills, including one for Justice. Here’s what he had to say to CDM about making Ableton Live into a way of reimagining just two samples into a whole track:

The interesting thing about the production of Caboose is that – with the exception of the drums – it was made entirely from two very short vocal samples, entirely in Live 7. There were no third-party plug-ins or softsynths. Every sound was either looped and effected, or placed in Simpler and sequenced, or ‘Sliced to MIDI’ and manipulated. Even the bass is that same vocal sample, tuned down two octaves, distorted, then filtered and compressed. The process itself was so much fun that I’ve since incorporated aspects of it into the follow- up tracks I’m working on now.

In the meantime, Francis has compiled for us a complete index to the tutorials he’s been developing for Beatportal, including synthesis, sampling, effects, Reason’s new Thor synth, and other skills:

Francis’ Tutorial Series for beatportal.com


Fran has worked as a sound designer on Ableton products and the Korg Legacy Collection and OASYS. Here, though, he starts at the beginning. Beatportal has indexed those stories before. But having made a giant map of the Kore tutorials we did recently – and planning to do similar “indexing” – I asked Fran to make a custom, compact list for us so you can easily get at what you need.

Subtractive and analog synthesis

Introduction to sampling

Tutorials on Reason’s Thor synthesizer

Introduction to effects (series in progress)

Production Master Classes (tips/tricks roundtables with established producers, series in progress)

See also Francis’ book, which I know at least some CDM readers have previously said they really enjoyed. (I have a copy here, it’s pretty excellent!)

Exclusive CDM Ringtone

You know you need some techno when someone calls your iPhone, so here’s an iTunes-format ringtone:

Caboose_The_Ringtone.m4r [Free download from CDM]


  • Glass

    Wow, I did a track like this just a few moths ago. A friend gave me a giant Live project he did as a joke tune, and I just deleted everything, including drums. The I proceeded to mangle the samples and apply effects until they became different instruments. You can make bass drums with Beat Repeat, fake-pianos with Resonator, snares with gated noise, Moog-like basses with AutoFilter… and you can achieve some order without even sequencing.

    It is a really fun process, wish I did a serious track instead of a collection of clever noises!!! (Not that I'm all that interested in making serious music, of course XD )

  • This track found its way into my latest demo! Wicked tune! As a dj and an aspiring producer these tutorials are priceless- thanks a million for such a great resource.


  • MonksDream

    Excellent. Francis Preve, Peter Kirn, and CDM ROCK!! Thank you!

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  • Do you have a tutorial of how to use a kick drum to trigger a gate in Cubase SX2 to create a stutter / glitch effect? Please email me.

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