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Clutchy Hopkins: Walking Backwards

February 27, 2008, 12:00 am
The blogosphere is abuzz with speculation as hip-hop heads desperately try to solve the riddle of Clutchy Hopkins. The decoy Hopkins is an old***image1*** hippie who sort of resembles a member of the Manson Family and whose personal history includes guru, revolutionary and hermit. The suspects have been named: DJ Shadow, Madlib, Cut Chemist, MF Doom, a Beastie Boy (MCA perhaps) or some kid with mad skills in a basement somewhere.

While the conundrum is a fun one, what makes Walking Backwards stand out isn�t the story that surrounds it, but the music. The influences are vast�from smooth Al Green-esque vocals, courtesy of Darondo, on �Love a Woman� to the pained and silky horns of �Horny Tickle� to the sitar-like guitar vibe of �Good Omen� to the Miles-Davis-inspired jazz fusion �Hidden Track��and 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 it�s begging for a little more�a remix or a sultry set of vocals�though 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 doesn�t 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 that�s needed is already there. That said, when Hopkins turns out to be classically trained violinist-turned-DJ/producer/engineer Dan �the Automator� Nakamura (aka Nathaniel Meriwether) this reviewer will be proud to say she called it first.

Walking Backwards
Ubiquity Records


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