Koop Waltz for Koop

[Cookin'; 2002]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: electronica, jazz
Others: Broadcast, Röyksopp

"Jazz" is a word that gets misused as often as you see Dookie or The Spaghetti Incident in the used bins in your local music store. It's so easy to say that a certain piece of music is jazz-influenced when, in actuality, the music merely has a couple diminished-fifths, a few major-sevenths, a trumpet, and a track or two with brush sticks. But when listening to Koop, you know that it's not one of those groups trying to mix in jazz elements into its music, but rather mix other musical elements into its jazz music.

Koop means co-operation; that is, the combined effort of Sweden-hailing Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson. The duo has released two albums thus far: Songs of Koop and the album in question, Waltz for Koop. Koop's music is essentially jazz with a dash of the electronics, concentrating on jazz structure instead of the improvisation that usually stereotypes jazz.

In nine songs partitioned into just under 35-minutes of listening pleasure, Koop has whipped up an album that sustains an intangible atmosphere that hovers over the fairly complex jazz numbers. Just enough juxtaposition is present to clearly distinguish the instruments, yet an overwhelming sense of tight instrumentation and cohesiveness still muscle through.

The album starts with its title track. Thick basslines support the 6/4 metered atmospheric jazz and the beautiful vocal performance by Cecilia Stalin. The rest of the album continues in similar fashion, with mid-tempo jazz numbers dominated by bass, keyboards, and strong vocals. Toward the middle of the album, the tone starts to vary increasingly. "Summer Sun" is probably the most aptly-titled track on the album, conjuring images of popsicles melting underneath the burning sun. One of the album's stronger tracks, "Soul for Sahib," follows with its Latin-esque fusion, spider-like basslines, and blaring horns. After "Soul for Sahib," the rest of the album resonates a darker, creepier mood, captivating the listener with it's exquisite variety.

Ranging from laid-back jazz pieces and upbeat ice-cream jazz to latin-influenced beats and bop, Waltz for Koop provides a pleasant listen for summer stargazing by a miracle well. The fusion of jazz and technology creates an atmospheric quality, while still keeping the original spirit of jazz. Though nothing particularly breathtaking or groundbreaking, with a varying cast of vocalists, Waltz for Koop has incredible lasting strength.

1. Waltz for Koop
2. Tonight
3. Baby
4. Summer Sun
5. Soul for Sahib
6. Modal Mile
7. In a Heartbeat
8. Relaxin' at Club F****N
9. Bright Nights

Most Read