As well as being an amazing song, it also has an excellent drum sound:
I’ve always been a big fan of Portishead since the mid-90s and they used similar sounds.
In the linked video, you can clearly hear the “real” drums being played underneath and that sound is being fed off into a side chain which consists of… what?
I’ve tried combining Distortion, EQ, Cab Sim, Compression, Bit Crunching etc but have never quite managed to make the sound react to the hits like it does here.
don’t forget that the drum track is most probably a drumloop sample that is being played at a lower BPM than it has been recorded which gives it this slightly streched out lower pitched feel. this is very important because it adds sound where you naturally wouldn’t have it if you just played your regular C-4 drum samples individually. (also the reverb is stretched out etc.)
the only thing that seems to be effected are the hats and snares (mid/high frequency stuff) while you can hear the clean loop playing underneath (as you’ve said). so i would make a send track with the drum loop playing without muting the source. on the send track i’d put some filters: highpass to cut off the kick and a low pass to muffle the sound, maybe an EQ to fine tune this effect and bring out the frequencies around the snare, a little bit of lofi distortion wouldn’t hurt and there’s definitely a long delay and some reverb.
something like that ^^
i’ve prepared a little snippet. the drums are even more distorted because the apache break is very fast in comparison. maybe some proper time-stretching would have helped?
The staccato effect sounds like a beat-sliced / recycled (as in REX) break with the tempo slowed to create space between the hits. You could probably achieve a similar sound with gating. For earthy sounds use earthy sources i.e. sample vinyl / cassettes and give the DSP a miss.
Better still blag / borrow a couple of cheap mics and a 4-channel mixer, hook up with a local drummer and record your own lo-fi breaks Glyn Johns style. It’s fun, original and adds a fresh sound to your tracks.