NPR logo A Loopy Audio Letter from a Faraway Friend

A Loopy Audio Letter from a Faraway Friend

Beyond the Son

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The Swedish duo waxes nostalgic over the lost art of letter writing. hide caption

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Beyond the Son"
  • Artist: Koop
  • CD: Koop Islands
  • Genre: Electronic

Often replaced by curt emails and abbreviated text messages, personal letters can seem like lost artifacts. The Swedish electronica duo Koop has noticed this, as its cinematic "Beyond the Son" celebrates the art of letter writing in a fast-moving world. Although members Magnus Zingmark and Oscar Simonsson favor electronic music, Koop eschews the genre's synthetic glitches in favor of a laissez-faire jazz sound that recalls a time when hi-fi record players were the height of technological advancement.

Guest vocalist Earl Zinger plays the part of a cosmopolitan journeyman as he ruminates on the unwelcome gentrification of London, Bjorn Borg's retirement, months spent sleeping on a friend's sofa and more. Musically, the song channels mid-'60s modal jazz, and when Zinger mentions Thelonious Monk, it's easy to assume that "Beyond the Sun" is paying homage to that era. But then Zinger returns to contemporary times by referencing hip-hop icon Rakim, as he reminds his friend to "check the new style." One of his closing lines — "May the winds be at your back, the dice be kind, and the gods turn the occasional blind eye" — wraps up Koop's audio postcard on a funny and thoughtful note, sounding for all the world like transmissions from a faraway friend.

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Koop Islands

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