Primate’s In A Band

Amazing what software can do these days.  In 1980 engineer Hugh Padgham was working with Steve Lillywhite on Peter Gabriel’s III album.  The gimmick with this record was there were no cymbals on any of the drum tracks, they were replaced with percussion, or other instruments.  One day while looking for an effect to add to the song “Intruder” Hugh listened in on Phil Collins playing the drums over the talkback mic on the Townhouse studios SSL desk and was instantly struck by the extremely heavy compression designed to duck instruments and make dialogue from the musicians audible.  He got SSL to come down and wire the mic to a channel on the patchbay so he could record the output onto the tape multitrack.  This was mixed with the already weighty drum sound coming out of the Townhouse stone room and choked with noise gates to create the filing cabinet down a liftshaft 80’s drum sound that re-appeared on “In The Air Tonight” and a host of other records no one listens to nowadays without laughing.

Now SSL have created a software version in VST that you can add to your own recordings.  I guess this would go best on a drum room mic but don’t expect to bung it on and be taken back to the era of snoods and shuttlecocks.  For that you need a tuned kit, a reflective but warm room and high end mics.  And a gorilla.

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