This release sounds like a collection of film-noir tracks run through the Clutchy Hopkins and Shawn Lee magical music machine. It’s dusty and mysterious junkyard jazz that’s powered by sly beats and otherworldly funk. Famous comic book creator Jim Mahood (Spiderman/Marvel, Clerks, Grrl Scouts, Stupid Comics, etc.) liked the tunes so much he provided the artwork for the package. Album contains a hidden code offering customers a deal on limited edition prints of Mahood’s artwork, available exclusively from the Ubiquity website.
But how did this record come to be? Does Shawn Lee know the identity of the mysterious Mr Hopkins? Read on brothers and sisters…
A few years back our man Shawn Lee flew from London to Phoenix, AZ, to visit his Mom for Christmas. While out there, the opportunity arose for a last minute recording session in Los Angeles. Renting a car he decided to make the drive by way of the Mojave Desert. Passing though the Desert he was low on gas, and so pulled over to fill up. He could not resist dropping into the thrift store next door. “I love second hand and vintage stuff, I had to go in see if I could find some cool clothes, or a little funky instrument,” he explains.
After a quick scour of the merchandise Lee headed back out towards the door only to be met by a bushy-haired man carrying a tiger mask. They exchanged greetings, shared stories about vintage instruments, and then Lee asked about the mask. “He said it was a gift, from a group of gypsies who make costumes for performing art centers in the Los Angeles area.” The man said he’d made the gypsies some instruments and that they gave him the mask in return. Lee immediately fell in love with the mask. This became obvious to the man who gave it to Lee with two requests. Lee was to keep the mask forever, and to wear it every full moon. He agreed and headed out West to Los Angeles.
Back in London, at the onset of the first full moon, Lee donned the mask and felt a lump pushing into the side of his head. He pulled back a cloth on the inside of the mask and found a cassette marked “C. H.” on Side A, and “Full Moon Breaks, Vol. 1” on the other. Excitedly Lee put the cassette into a tape deck and pressed play. “I put the mask back on and, I’m not really a dancer or anything, but my feet were all over the place, this seriously moved me…the music was dope.” Fast forward year or so and Lee hears about Ubiquity releasing music from a mysterious, but talented, artist out of the Mojave Desert called Clutchy Hopkins. Putting “C.H.” and “Clutchy Hopkins” together he pulled out the cassette and knocked out a few ideas inspired by what he heard.
The ideas were delivered to the Misled Children, the somewhat secretive agents of Mr. Hopkins that had befriended Ubiquity (coincidentally by way of a chance purchase at a thrift store.) Twoweeks later a purple CD-r was mailed to Lee’s house back in London and it included the tracks he started, with new music added to them, and also some other ideas meant for Shawn to play with. There was also a message, written into a crazy, complicated equation which Lee decoded with some help from a mathematical scholar. It was a request from Clutchy Hopkins to send more music. This exchange of ideas, by way of the mail and the Misled Children, went on for 3 months. Then everything went quiet. We could not find the Misled Children, no more packages arrived, and no more messages were received.
A month or so later Lee picked up the mask to honor his full moon request, and once again was surprised by something inside. Sitting quietly, as if it had been thinking of using the mask as a new home, was a messenger bird with a small scroll tied to one foot. Written on the scroll were directions to the house of a Mr Peddlesmith near Hebden Bridge, England. Shawn drove up to Yorkshire to see Mr Peddlesmith, who uttered only “I’ve been waiting for you,” and then handed over a package which included a handmade cedar flute and a cd.
You’re now holding in your hands the recording found on that CD. It’s the result of long distance collaboration between two talented musicians. They met only briefly, but instantly saw eye to eye by way of a mask and a full moon. Behold, the Clutch of The Tiger.