A wise man once said… actually, scratch that. I have no idea how wise the man was. Let’s just call him a very talented man. A very talented man once said “I like my pockets fat, not flat”. We can all relate to his particular pocket preference but how many of us actually live that dream? I’m guessing not too many. The only fat thing near my pocket is my thigh.
It seems that it’s not just me who laments how gaunt my pockets are. German producers/musicians Twit One & Lazy Jones have joined forces under the Flatpocket banner to give us Geldfundphantasyen (German for ‘finding money fantasies’) a concept album based around the theme of being broke.
The album is largely instrumental, save for a sprinkling of vocal samples and some skit stuff. So how does it work as a concept album then? Well, we have to look at the tone of the music. The feelings that are evoked by the sounds should be consistent with this theme. Judging by what we hear here these guys must find being broke thoroughly enjoyable.
This is no gritty council drama channelled through the medium of music. The overall tone of the album is happy. It feels sunny, breezy and welcoming. There are snatches of jazz, a dash of Latin acoustic guitars, fragments of blues records, a jaunt into prog territory and what feels like tribal vocals. It’s not as disparate and disjointed as that might make it seem. All of these elements are artfully blended together by two guys who quite obviously love hip hop. This is as much an album about dreaming of wealth as it is a love letter to hip hop.
The only things I can find to complain about are that, at thirty three minutes and change in duration, it’s too short. That’s just me being greedy though (the theme of my life… hence the fat thighs). If I’m honest this album is the perfect length for what it is. Since the second run through I haven’t managed to listen to the album just once in any session. It’s played at least twice in every dose. My other gripe is that I can’t understand the skits because I don’t speak German. As much as I’m complaining about that though I respect the intent. It’s not meant for me and if I was German I’d be thrilled to have something this good speak directly to me.
If I were to pick out moments for you to listen that might convince you to invest I would probably start with ‘Watermarke’. It starts with a vocal sample that seems tribal or like a b-movie soundtrack from South America or Bollywood, which builds into a compulsory head-nodder. I’m in love with the crunchy snare which is awash with phase on this track. Warning: If you use public transport prepare to look silly whilst you contentedly nod away. In many ways it reminds me of Monster Rally but with a more traditional hip hop sensibility.
‘Down & Wise’ proves that special herbs and spices are not the sole preserve of The Villain and The Colonel. It changes halfway through to a lovely languid groove with a bass harmonic riff that puts me in mind of Nas’ ‘Street Dreams’. I’ve listened to both back to back and I’m not entirely sure why I’m reminded of this. There are some similarities but the connection is not as explicit in reality as it seemed in the jukebox of my mind.
The title track has a strange haunting quality which is only added to by the dreamy indie vocals. There are Jean Jacques Perrey style noises similar to his track ‘EVA’ (which we all know and love because of ‘Just To Get A Rep’). It feels dilla-esque and when it ends it always has me reaching to start the album all over again.
‘Roomboy’ gets a special mention for reminding me that there are few things more attractive in this world than the way that German girls say “Hallo”. Not sure the rest of you will feel the same about that but I felt it was worth pointing out.
This album is gorgeous. In many ways, for my own selfish reasons, I hope that the guys never realise their fantasy of finding money. If being poor means that they make music this good then I’m afraid I will be wishing that they stay poor forever for fear that money will reduce their ability to produce work like this. If you’re feeling the winter blues and you’re having to dig deeper into those starved pockets then this album will go some way to curing what ails you. It’s sunny and relaxed demeanour break through the dark and murk of the winter and washes over you with the warmth of a summer day. I can now say that I like my pockets fat AND flat.
Geldfundphantasyen is out now on Melting Pot Music