Music Is My Medicineby Clutchy Hopkins
At this point, whoever Clutchy Hopkins is or isn't doesn't make a whit of difference. The Ubiquity label is sticking to its great mythological story (see the bio for the whole shebang) and for all it matters in the sometimes faceless world of beat production, samples, and rhythm tracks, the myth is far more interesting than fact anyway because it's the music that wins the day. This time out, after a pair of full-lengths and a collaborative album with Shawn Lee, the Misled Children (Clutchy Hopkins' "disciples") have come up with a new chapter in the story. Supposedly they turned over a slew of 2" reels to Ubiquity that claim to be a collaboration between the mysterious Hopkins and an entirely new enigma: Lord Kenjamin. The sounds found on these 11 tracks are a seamless meld of blissed-out melodies. Often skeletal in nature, yet adorned smartly and often infectiously, they glide atop equally smart bass and drum tracks that have been dimensionally expanded by the addition of dubbed out soundscapes and steamy Jamaican rhythms. A great example is the gorgeous "Doty's Leslie," where a slippery organ melody is accompanied by another organ track as its rhythmic counterpart, and padded down with bells, fat analogue-sounding keyboard bass, and great breaks and loops. The Leslie speaker referred to in the title adds a spectacular, spacy wash of sound that pulses in the bass tracks, breathing right through the mix. Add to this a lonesome melodica and the high register notes from a Rhodes piano and you have something seductive, languid, and infectious. Other tracks are more pronouncedly reggae influenced, such as the "Tune Traveler," where overdriven bubbling dub efx are spilled all over the rhythm tracks and some lithe, sparkling, echo-laden keyboards serve as a minimal melody line so it sounds like Chinese folk music lathered onto a dread dubscape. Clutchy Hopkins' story may indeed be an overly preposterous crock, but the music is close to sublime. And that's what counts.
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