Saturday, February 18, 2006

Reckless (Club Mix) (1984) – Ice-T, Chris “The Glove” Taylor & Dave E. Storrs

In a genre whose songs tend to dull as they age, the Club Mix of “Reckless” continues to electrify, due largely to the programming skills of Dave Storrs. Building upon the solid foundation of the old standby “Planet Rock/Numbers” beat, a punchy kick drum, crisp tommy-gunning snare and skittering hi-hats propel the tempo. Auxiliary percussion bustles within the mix: clattering hand claps and a clacking wood block boomerang across channels, overlaying subtle percussive plinking. Ice-T’s vocal presentation is relatively restrained, avoiding histrionics or affectation that risk antiquation. As well, the lyrics have avoided becoming passé by shunning catchphrases and slang, instead extolling the trio in relatively benign, straightforward terms. The Glove implements his scratching in a musical manner with select turntable samples, judiciously laced with stereo delay (the “grunt” scratch about 2 minutes in is the ace up his sleeve). The Club Mix adds hints of reverse echo, and an unexpected panning stutter of Ice-T’s “reckless, reckless, reck, reck, reck, reckless!” Overall, the production is clean and creative, introducing sonic whooshes and surges at strategic moments.

The highlight, however, is the pulsating sequenced bassline that ricochets about during the second scratching break, augmented by a haunted house organ. Rhythmically complex, musical and percussive, it defines the song and ensures its continued relevance in the annals of electro-funk.

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