“Imagine…a world…where time drifts slowly…”
For laughs, I pulled this copy of Pure Moods out of the free box while record shopping at End of an Ear.
The minute I saw the cover, I remembered that “Return to Innocence” song blasting during the infomercials:
I didn’t even bother looking at the tracklist until I got home — sure, there was Enya and Kenny G, but also Morricone, Vangelis, Badalamenti and Brian Eno?!? This thing is wild:
I wanted to know more about this crazy artifact from 1994. Luckily, Mina Tavakoli wrote a great review for Pitchfork a few years ago that delves into its weird history:
These were tracks and artists never designed to be played alongside one another, tracks and artists, for all intents and purposes, mostly foreign to one another except in essence. Their clunky but satisfying cohesion can be attributed to the cataloguing done by the Virgin heads, who arranged the piece on a lark, “stumbling into the project” as an experiment to determine if an album could be successfully telemarketed and sold far before its release date. The model, deemed “a huge buzz” after selling more than 2 million copies prior to its formal drop, would be replicated five times over with a tetralogy of sequels in the releases of Pure Moods II-IV.
“But what mood?” Meg asked me after I played her a few tracks.
“Pure moods,” I said. “Plural! There is no one mood, but they’re all Pure.”
I thought it would be hilarious to play my 10-year-old the album after pizza night. He got really into it, especially the infomercial.
“This is so cringe,” he said. “My classmates would love it.”
We started reciting some of the lines around the house. “Direct from Europe…”
He even went so far as to make a parody of the compilation called Cringe Moods:
Masterful parody of PURE MOODS from the 10-year-old ? pic.twitter.com/L7AJcjClwO
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) February 23, 2023
And this is why you shop at your local record store.