CLUTCHY HOPKINS-“Walking Backwards”

Who the hell is Clutchy Hopkins?

The gimmick behind Clutchy Hopkins is a few grainy photographs and a story that his work was discovered by accident, the label then tracking the man down through his daughter and discovering that he’s some old hippie type. Or something like that. These kinds of promotional campaigns can get old pretty fast—the only one who’s been able to keep this sort of thing up for any length of time is MF DOOM, and recently stories have surfaced that he’s pulled a Gallagher and there’s a different dude behind the mask at shows. It’s clearly an attempt to give street cred to a white kid who wants to be hip hop. (Kinda like a blogwriter wearing an MF DOOM mask on his own masthead. How pretentious!)

But lets get behind this nonsense and explore the artist. “Walking Backwards,” on Ubiquity Records, is a remarkable LP (it comes with a bonus DVD, but I don’t watch those sorts of things) with beats as deep and wide as anything from any of the more well-known hip hop instrumentalists (RJD2, Thievery Corporation, DJ Shadow, Blockhead, etc.). It’s less of a showcase than his earlier albums (as well as his remix/mash-up album featuring MF DOOM), and more of a proper record.

“Sound of the Ghost” begins with an ominous, heavy pulse, which continues throughout the song, accentuated by a piano riff, and accompanied by sounds from guitars and drums. It could have been the music Jason stalks campfire kids to. Much of the album has this kind of creeping, spooky quiet, including gems like “Swap Me At The corner” and “Para Los Ninos” (a song that seems to have the sounds of kids dying in the background). A Middle-Eastern feel permeates “Alla Oscar” (I have no idea if the title is supposed to reference Islam), and Love Of A Woman introduces vocals to the track, by someone named Darondo. (Who the hell is Clutchy Hopkins? Who the hell is Darondo!) It’s a pretty standard blues jaunt, and the weakest cut on the record. Which is odd, because these beds scream for vocals. (“Song for Wolfie” has an old bluesman wailing in spots, and it works much better here, perhaps due to the inclusion of a banjo.) Especially “3d Element,”which is a little too redundant to me to stand on its own. The last track I want to mention by name is “Percy on the One.” The song stands out because it’s comparatively upbeat, and it sounds remarkably like another anonymous beatmaker. Could Clutchy be . . . DOOM? Naaaaah.

clips of every song here


Alla Oscar

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