That sound. That unforgettable drum sound that showed up in iconic 80’s hits like “In the Air Tonight” was an accident.
Over the past few years, a general nostalgia for the 1980s has infiltrated music, film, and television. Those gated reverb drums of the ’80s – you know that punchy percussive sound popularized by Phil Collins and Prince? “Earworm” spoke with two Berklee College of Music professors, Susan Rogers and Prince Charles Alexander, to figure out just how that sound came to be, what makes it so damn punchy, and why it’s back.
Here’s a Spotify playlist of some of the best songs featuring gated reverb: https://spoti.fi/2vH7ZZL
Correction: At 2:01, a previous version of the video mistakenly said the noise gate only lets frequencies above a certain threshold pass through. We should’ve said “amplitudes” instead of “frequencies.” The error has been rectified.