Koop ‘Coup de Grace. 1997-2007’ (!K7) 4/5

Swedish pairing of Oscar Simonsson and Magnus Zingmark have over a decade successfully fused jazzy samples with a catchy pop sensibility and enjoyed underground hits in the UK with the jazz-dance and electronic beats crowd with old-school jazz influences recalling 1980s club haunts such as Dingwalls in London and Berlin in Manchester. Of course ‘Waltz for Koop, taken from the 200s album of the same name, was a big favourite with DJ Gilles Peterson at the time and the familiar bass riff and subtle use of synthesizers typifies their sound. The Latin-inflected fresh as a summer breeze vocals of Yukimi Nagano on ‘Summer sun’ impress and unsurprisingly the album won a Grammy for best club/dance album of the year. Elsewhere jazz hues abound as on the uptempo song ‘I see a different you’, again sung by Nagano with the lovely use of vibes and the excellent percussive waltz on ‘Tonight’ with vocals provided by Mikael Sundin. Along with sampling beats, Koop specialise in mixing these with acoustic instrumentation and in this respect they are not dissimilar in outlook from Gotan Project, though the emphasis on jazz is greater with the former. The jazzy waltz that is ‘Baby’ includes a lovely flute solo from Magnus Lindgren and several top Swedish jazz musicians are called upon to contribute including former EST bassist Dan Berglund. An indication of the serious intent of Koop is found on ‘Prince of peace’ which features a bass riff and sample of Swedish contemporary classical music. At only forty minutes, this overview of the three albums recorded thus far could certainly have been a good deal more generous. However, by being lean on the time factor, the choiciest cuts are now available to all and sundry.

Tim Stenhouse