The 101 is a single oscillator, monophonic analog synth developed in the early 80s. Its lightning fast envelopes, self-oscillating resonance and inherent overdrive make it the perfect synth for creating fresh and unique analog synth drum hits.
To create drums from a synth can be quite difficult and at first attempt you may think the key is external processing (compressors, etc). But in reality, external processing is secondary; the secret to creating great synth drums comes from 1. finding a synth with the right features and 2. getting creative with some modulation secrets.
The 101 easily meets the basic requirements for great synth drums: lightning fast envelopes, a self-oscillating filter and white noise. Add an LFO (with random), and a sub oscillator and you're in business.
Snares are simple to achieve, and sound excellent. Get the white noise generator going, and apply different types of filter modulation to it for movement, including envelopes and LFOs. Varying the amounts of that squelching 101 resonance and great results come naturally.
Creating kick drums is a bit more complex. The key to analog bass drums like the 909 is pitch modulation and sine waves. At first glance, the 101 doesn't have either. But with a little creativity, you can achieve both:
Send the resonance of the filter into self-oscillation, so that the filter cutoff now acts as the frequency of a sine wave oscillator. Since the filter envelope modulates the filter cutoff (which now equals the frequency of the resonant oscillator), the filter envelope becomes a lightning fast pitch envelope. With different sustain and decay settings, we're now able to get really punchy clicks, followed by deep sine subs - perfect for all sorts of bass drums.
The rest is just experimentation and a bit of external processing - an API preamp to catch the fast and punchy transients; a culture vulture and big muff to add more harmonics and coloration (in parallel) to the sustain. And finally, some multi-layering of different LFO rates, filter and noise settings for weirder and more complex drum hits.
You'll get 60 killer analog synth drum hits from the classic SH101 - including white noise blasts, kicks, pitch modulated subs, explosions, lasers and sci-fi tones. These are super unique, and great on their own or for layering with more "real" sounding drums.
And if you're liking the sound of the 101, be sure to check out the 101 From Mars, which includes 40 sampled synth patches.