“If I were an emcee, I would want Clutchy on my squad. Much like MF Doom he has the unique ability to make the inanimate articulate, as if his instruments could speak. Not only is Clutchy ‘next up’, but he’s also on some next shit.”
MF Doom & Clutchy Hopkins – Change the Beat 1.31
Clutchy Hopkins is a multi-instrumentalist who recorded under various pseudonyms throughout his entire musical career; his recorded output consists of everything from field recordings of his travels to avant compositions, to jazz to funk. These recordings were up to this point unknown to the public. His father had been a recording engineer for Motown bands and had taught him intricate recording techniques when he was just a young boy. This knowledge Clutchy used to his advantage during his travels, working in recording studios from Bombay to Cairo. The information Ubiquity gathered of him was from a small biographical manuscript that was found with his recordings under the care of a Mohave shaman who was a descendant of the Cahuilla Indian tribe who Clutchy had studied under.
In this autobiography they find the writings of a musical gypsy who traveled the world investigating consciousness and its relation to music.When Clutchy was just 20 years old he traveled to the Far East and was under the tutelage of Rinzai Zen monks in Japan for many years investigating silence and the rhythms of silence in music. Later, he studied Raja Yoga in India to master and articulate the movements of the body and its relation to sound. In his autobiography Clutchy relates his fascination with drums and their effect on consciousness so he decided to travel to Lagos, Nigeria to study with a master percussionist by the name Oba-lu-Funke. During his stay there he became a political revolutionary and gun-runner, and staged rebel missions to fight the oppressive government and its policies of Apartheid. During his intensive studies and travels, Clutchy was constantly recording music.When he returned to the US Clutchy used his recording techniques to produce his own music and create instruments of his own. He has played with many groups primarily in the jazz, funk, avant setting. During his recording with other musicians Clutchy refused to contribute his name to the recordings, preferring to use a pseudonym or no name at all. He was purportedly good friends with Moondog and did some recordings with him; these recordings are yet to be found.
His recordings span from the early 70s to the late 90s covering a whole spectrum of musical styles. After these recordings came to the surface, we have tried to contact the original source where these recordings were found unfortunately that source has since died. It is said by locals who knew him that Clutchy Hopkins returned to the Mojave Desert to finish his life out living in an underground cave; no one has heard from him since.
Clutchy’s album “walking backwards” is coming out 02/05/08 on Ubiquity Records. Make sure you get that, and put it next to your Yesterday’s New Quintet albums.
Clutchy Hopkins – Percy on the One