While the conundrum is a fun one, what makes Walking Backwards stand out isnï¿½t the story that surrounds it, but the music. The influences are vastï¿½from smooth Al Green-esque vocals, courtesy of Darondo, on ï¿½Love a Womanï¿½ to the pained and silky horns of ï¿½Horny Tickleï¿½ to the sitar-like guitar vibe of ï¿½Good Omenï¿½ to the Miles-Davis-inspired jazz fusion ï¿½Hidden Trackï¿½ï¿½and make the album a beat-driven journey though musical genres. Every minute of Walking Backwards is a romantic seduction lit by the candles of instrumentation that slip through the air with the roughness of satin sheets. The beats are subtle and the rhythms slow, which makes each song sound like itï¿½s begging for a little moreï¿½a remix or a sultry set of vocalsï¿½though they are complete as they are.
Whether the fog lifts and the artist behind Clutchy Hopkins is outed remains to be seen. But in the end the PR machine doesnï¿½t matter. Solving the puzzle only serves those who want to deconstruct the music to find out how it was built. For those who want to enjoy the smooth instrumental ride, everything thatï¿½s needed is already there. That said, when Hopkins turns out to be classically trained violinist-turned-DJ/producer/engineer Dan ï¿½the Automatorï¿½ Nakamura (aka Nathaniel Meriwether) this reviewer will be proud to say she called it first.