This thing keeps happening every single time when I listen to my favorite songs
for last five years or so.
[Bleachers – Don’t Take The Money]
I hear this weird but familiar drum sound that just cuts right through the track.
[Blood Orange – You Are Not Good Enough]
I love it.
[Lorde – The Louvre]#Megaphone to my chest#
Here it is one more time.
[Haim – Right Now]
That punchy, unnatural drum was the sound of the 80s and it’s back.
It’s called gated reverb, and like many of the greatest inventions,
it was discovered by accident.
[Earworm – Vox Pop]
In the 1970s, drums on the radio sounded a lot like this.
[Pink Floyd – Echoes]
Host: They’re quite dry aren’t they?
They’re just as recorded.
To achieve that isolated clean sound,
producers and engineers mic’d the drums all over, including the inside.
平克·弗洛伊德 地与风与火 创世纪乐队都用这种纯声
This was the sound of bands like Pink Floyd, Earth Wind and Fire, and Genesis.
At least up until 1979.
That’s when Peter Gabriel was recording his third solo album.
His Genesis bandmate, Phill Collins, was
on the drums playing a simple beat.
And here’s where something magical happened.
So, according to their engineer Hugh Padgham,
they had a brand new recording console with some cool features,
that included a mic hanging in the studio to talk to the band.
That mic accidentally picked up Phil’s drums and
the result was a thick punchy reverb.
that disappeared in an instant.
The mic had a heavy compressor on it.
Which reduces the volume of loud sounds and amplifies quiet ones,
it’s sort of crunches a waveform.
And the console had a noise gate
which only let’s frequencies above a certain threshold pass through,
and then it immediately shuts off.
The result was such a crazy sound
that Peter Gabriel wrote his album opener, “Intruder”, around it.
[Peter Gabriel – Intruder]
Now, if you don’t know “Intruder”,
you’ll certainly recognize this,
made by Phill Collins and Hugh Padgham a year later.
#you and me#
#I can feel it coming in the air at night#
Thanks to a happy accident,
the sound of the 80s was born.
[Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight]#I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life.#
The drums on “In the Air Tonight” were recorded
in Townhouse’s legendary Stone Room.
Its reverb came from the walls of the studio.
It was meant to sound like a castle.
But not everyone who wanted good reverb had access to that type of space.
In the ’80s, once the digital technology came to the fore
not only was the sound of our musical changing,
but the things that augment our sounds were changing also.
Nothing illustrates this more than the evolution of reverb.
So reverb was achieved in the early days the most natural way of all,
which is to have an echo chamber.
So you would do this chamber if you set up
in one corner of the room a big loudspeaker,
and in the other corner of the room, you’d set up a microphone.
Here’s an echo chamber at Abbey Road Studios.
Echo chambers took up real estate and
real estate was expensive so plate reverb was invented.
There’d be a big box with an aluminum plate in it,
and the voice would go in one side, travel along the aluminum plate, and come out
the other side with a little bit of reverberation on it.
Plate reverb boxes were 600 pounds or more.
Not great for portability.
Enter the AMS RMX16,
a shoebox sized unit that created reverb via circuit boards and algorithms.
在这个小盒子里面 模拟了蝶形回廊 地下车库 歌剧院等场景
Right there, in a box, we had plate reverbs and underground garages and big concert halls
and small and large echo chambers, and music clubs.
The AMS which debuted in 1982 was the first reverb unit
to be driven by a microprocessor.
And it had room for 99 presets including a few
that created that unnatural gated sound with a push of a button.
I think a big example was the work that I did with Prince in the 80s.
He loved that gated reverb.
Uh, yes, that Prince.
Prince used an Linn-LM1 drum machine
that sampled real drum sounds.
Susan fed that Linn-LM1 to the AMS reverb box
and used a preset called “nonlinear”.
Nonlinear reverb just can’t be replicated in the real world without technology.
Reverb in a natural setting tends to fade as the audio signal decays.
Nonlinear reverb actually gets louder.
It makes a drum sound like a whip.
Picture it like a tidal wave, a huge wave
suddenly stopping and hitting a brick wall.
That’s the sound of gated reverb.
That was the classic, quintessential example.
That was the big one, that was the fat one.
[Prince – Kiss]#You don’t have to be beautiful, to turn me on.#
A year after “In the Air Tonight”, those
huge drums were no longer an accident.
The sound was built into reverb technology.
Then for a decade, gated reverb was a sound you couldn’t escape on the radio.
[Kate Bush – Hounds of Love]#It’s in the trees. It’s coming!#
[Kate Bush – Hounds of Love]#When I was a child running in the night#
[John Congar Mellencamp – Jack And Diane]#Gonna let it rock, let it rock#
[Hall And Oates – Dance On Your Knees]
[Duran Duran – A View To A Kill]
We really kind of used it to death, and
by the next album, by Sign of the Times,
I was pretty sick of it.
It seemed everybody else was too.
When the 90s rolled around musicians favored those dry drums again.
But here’s the thing.
After a about 20 years’ hiatus, It’s back.
[Carly Rae Jepsen – When I Need You]#Hey! That’s when I need you!#
Here’s Ariel Rechtshaid on Song Exploder,
he produced Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest album.
That drum fill is something that I always just had in my head.
They were inspired by the drum fill in the Jack & Diane by John Cougar Mellencamp.
[John Cougar Mellencamp – Jack And Diane]
[Bleachers – Don’t Take The Money]#I’m in love and you’ve got me, runaway#
Jack Antonoff of Bleachers was born
the year Prince released Purple Rain.
And here he is in his studio playing that Linn-LM1 drum machine.
He produced Lorde’s latest album which has gated reverb drums.
#In your car the radio up. x2#
And Taylor Swift’s aptly titled 1989.
#It’s 2am in your car#
The thing is, producers today don’t need Prince’s drum machine
or a physical rack of reverb units to get that 80s sound.
You can go online and download massive
Prince and Phil Collins inspired gated reverb drum sample packs.
那AMS RMX 16呢
And that AMS RMX 16?
It’s now a computer plug in.
Sure, gated reverb drums aren’t a timeless sound.
They bring you back to the 80s, but that
doesn’t mean they don’t sound cool.
This episode of Earworm is brought to you by audible.com
If you go to audible.com there are so many amazing books about music.
But there’s one that I defintely want to recommend
那就是亚历克斯·罗斯的「Listen to This」
and that’s “Listen to This” by Alex Ross.
Alex Ross is a long time music critic at the New Yorker
and he’s written some of my favorite books about music.
If you want to understand music more or appreciate it better,
「Listen to This」绝对是你的菜
“Listen to This” definitely has your covered.
If you go to audible.com/Vox you can download 30-day free trial
免费下载「Listen to This」
download “Listen to This” for free.
And if you choose not to keep the service, you can still keep the book.
One other thing is I made a spotify playlist for you,
the link is in the description.
It’s called An Ode to Gated Reverb
and it has some of my favorite songs with gated reverb from the 1980s and today.