In many people’s estimations, 818 is one of the standout tracks on Gartner’s debut album, Weekend In America. The bulk of it is based around a sparse drum mix and a couple of pumping synth patches firing in rapid 16th sequences.
We’ll be focusing on the synth sounds, which are full of life and character. It sounds like there’s some sidechain compression going on, but for the sake of simplicity we’re going to emulate this effect with envelopes. Underpinning these synths is a heavily processed Roland TR-808 bass drum, with a very pronounced, saturated attack. We can also hear processed bursts of white noise, a single piano chord and more electronic drum machine samples including the ride, clap and snare sounds from a Roland TR-909. It’s the incidental noises that make this type of track work.