For rather a while now people on listserv's
have been mentioning Koop as being in the same vein as Portishead
and Broadcast. The implication
in that comparison is that Koop are an electronic band that
make mellow, jazz-infused music. Sounds interesting, right?
And so i finaly tracked down a copy of Waltz For Koop,
their second album.
I put it in the player, ready for interesting sounds, funky
beats, and strange samples. And i heard: Esquivel. Herb Alpert.
Lounge music, without hyphenation. And not even electronic lounge
music! If no one had told me this was an electronic act, i would
have suspected that Koop are like Combustible Edison -- that
is, people who really honestly play instruments in a very retro
But no. For some reason the two people in Koop (swedes Oscar
Simonsson and Magnus Zingmark) feel that it is really really
cool to take a bunch of samples and layer them in order to create
an effect identical to that which composers in the 1950's created
with big bands.
Well, it's not. I can't stand lounge music. This CD (and in
fact any like it) should come with a big warning sticker that
This is nothing but pretentious music
for people who like to pose.
This type of music is best appreciated while dressed up, gazing
at modern art, and drinking a martini. Ugh -- i hate getting
"dressed up". Ugh -- i hate modern art. Ugh -- i hate martinis.
Therefore: ugh -- i hate lounge music.
Now, Waltz For Koop is the second album from
this band, and supposedly it is different ("less dark" is the
description i have always heard) from their first album. But
after hearing this one, i am loathe to even search for that
other album. I don't know what "dark lounge music" would sound
like, but my sneaking suspicion is that it would suck as much
as regular lounge music does.
I must, i feel, comment on the vocals, since i have heard them
praised as much as the album itself. For the most part, the
vocals are "cool" femme voice, that reminds me of the frigidity
of the vocals on that Broadcast
album, or late 60's/early 70's jazz. That is, this music
sung by some woman looking down her nose at us assembled peons.
As an "unwashed indie rocker" i feel as if the album itself
thinks it's too good for me; however, i know it's just the vocal
This contrasts with the album's only noteworthy tracks (noteworthy
in their lack of suckitude, as well as the fact that they sound
like what might happen if Tortoise and Rockers Hi-fi collaborated,
with David Ruffin fronting the affair) are Modal Mile
and In A Heartbeat. Modal Mile is a xylophone
driven tune that is not bad. In A Heartbeat is more soulful,
and whoever the male singer they have here is, well, he cuts
loose on this one to great effect.
However, that is 2 tracks out of 9. Not a good ratio. And the
others are particularly vile.
I can recommend this album only to snooty people who wear coctail
dresses and go to upscale Midtown clubs. But since i figure
Malimus has already scared such people away from EvilSponge,
that recommendation is pointless. The only other group of people
who should be interested are people who actually listened to
this type of music when it was first made, back in the 1950's.
Of course, not many of those people are still alive. I wonder
if Billboard charts what is popular at Retirement Homes? If
they do, i bet Waltz For Koop does well.
I feel "unclean" after listening to this tripe. I need to go
put in a Black Flag disc, to purge.