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  Waltz for Koop  
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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 style.

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 says:

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 style.

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.

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