AUDIO CURATION. With so much automated digital curation, what would it look like if we followed our own curiosities?
Faye [00:00:07] You are listening to the audio self-help book on tape,TrancePose: Physical Media Access as an Act of Curiosity. This is a self guided self-help program, unleashing your curiosity by ejecting the algorithm and wandering the decks and the stacks. I'm Faye. I'm here to guide you on your journey. Transposing. That's trance posing. Found physical media, mostly randomly selected by me, a human for you. Congratulations on listening to this audio self-help book on tape. It is the first step in reclaiming your own curiosity and selecting physical media that you like. Physical media that calls to you without an algorithm. Let's begin. Chapter one. Let's get physical media. We first must ask ourselves, how can people apparently know so little when information surrounds us? It is our curiosity that makes us interesting, unique. It's not what we know, but what we want to know that keeps a conversation alive, a mind activated. It's a world where we are spoon or force fed information not based on what we know, but rather what an algorithm has decided. We should know what to wear, where to go, who to date, what to eat, etc.. Our individual desires, those very desires that fuel curiosity have been removed. If we do not consciously choose otherwise, we are simply loudspeakers channeling and reciting the opinions and preferences of others through the media that is fed to us.
Faye [00:02:28] I heard it on a podcast. The online reviews say it's got the best margaritas in town. I read that movie got bad reviews. I bought this full length body pillow after seeing it over and over again on Instagram. Pause to reflect. But we can choose differently when we go to a bookstore and wander the shelves, picking up the books that call to us. That's our curiosity. When we scan the radio and stop at the song or the talk show that speaks to us, That's our curiosity. When we peruse a record collection, picking up the obscure LP to listen to. That's our curiosity. What do these experiences have in common Physical media selected without algorithms? Our musical Journey Unbound is directed by a scan through the television at 3 a.m. on April 17th, 1994, an adult contemporary compact disc available for order songs selected direct from Europe. And now let's tune out. And tune in. Scanning the channels. Finding the right mood.
Pure Moods Commercial [00:04:26] Imagine a world where time drifts slowly. A world where music carries you away. Experience Pure Moods, the perfect soundtrack for your way of life. Direct from Europe is multi-platinum collection has won the hearts of millions. Set adrift with the timeless pleasures of Tubular Bells. Or take a trip into the unknown with The X-Files theme. No other collection gives you the feeling of pure moods. To order pure moods. Call the number on your screen or send check your money, order for the amount shown, plus shipping and handling rush delivery available. Call now.
Faye [00:05:40] That was the original television commercial advertising, the CD compilation of New Age music titled Pure Moods.
Faye [00:05:52] From a late night television commercial for a studio compilation. Dialing to order this CD compilation. Having it delivered by mail. We have Pure Moods as our first selection of physical media.
Faye [00:06:14] Released in 1994. Pure Moods was a mixed CD before streaming, but after mixtapes. In her review on Pitchfork, writer Mina Tavakoli1 says on weekday mornings, sometime between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Lawless, Fantasia used to appear on television like a good recurring dream. Today, the rhapsodies are duller, stricter and more subdued. But in the nineties, they came in the form of ads for phone sex lines, softcore porn and low resolution infomercials that sold the mirage of a life fantastic to a woozy after hours audience. The colors were always saturated, syrupy richest cream, the toned, sedate misty and mostly the biddable, whether bored, sleepy, incapacitated or horny. This tribe routinely or accidentally, was well acquainted with a call of Pure Moods, unexpected, unbidden, and more or less unnecessary, Pure Moods is a piece woven with somewhere into the silk of the popular unconsciousness. You may not remember hearing this work, but after watching the commercial, you might find yourself feeling that you've always known lines from its script. Swooning and naked in this Pride. The 17 song compilation album advertised in 60-second hallucinations disguised as infomercials, was a warm vat of music that we might today refer to loosely as New Age. That's from A Review of Pure Moods by Mina Tavakoli, reviewed in June of 2020 on Pitchfork. We are very lucky to be joined by Xander-Antoine, a cultural critic who's here to chat about pure moods.
Faye [00:08:20] Welcome.
Xander-Antoine [00:08:21] Salutations. Thank you for having me.
Faye [00:08:24] Thank you for being here. I just knew you'd be the right person to have to help us explore pure moods. Why don't you set the stage for us and tell us a little bit about the visuals of the commercial?
Xander-Antoine [00:08:41] Well, the year is 1994. People are praying to their guardian Angels for protection, Bermuda Triangle, poltergeists, unexplained mysteries. And on the banality of daytime television, a vision waves crashing over boulders. And you're dancing in a pastel dreamscape. The pyramids of Gaza chanting Children, unicorns, the half moon. This is the Pure Moon's CD and cassette tape advertisement with that beautiful sound collage we just heard playing over it.
Faye [00:09:24] Hmm. Thank you. It's like I'm right there in the commercial.
Faye [00:09:29] There's so much to say about Pure Moods. But let's just begin with potentially the most important outcome of the Pure Moods collection, which is I can't speak for you, but maybe I can. A gateway into Enya?
Xander-Antoine [00:09:47] Oh, of course. To think that there was a time before I knew of Enya's beautiful music.
Faye [00:12:31] And that was Enya with Orinoco Flow off of her 1988 album, Watermark. Xander-Antoine, I wonder if you could tell us a bit more about Enya's Orinoco Flow.
Xander-Antoine [00:12:46] Well, I think we just experienced it together. This song is so beautiful. It just transports you to another world. And. And your voice is. Every syllable is like a chime or a bell ringing. And she's just evoking this world that's so far away from us, geographically distant. She's talking about Avalon mythology, just places that we would love to visit but aren't able to. And it seems when we listen to it that we ourselves are being pulled down a river by the current Orinoco River, which, according to Wikipedia, is one of the longest rivers in South America at 2250 kilometers long.
Faye [00:13:34] Yes.
Faye [00:13:35] Pure Moods was a gateway into Enya, among many other musical treasures. Something to note about pure moods is that it was music you cannot find on FM radio. You couldn't find it on AM radio, you couldn't find it on MTV in the United States. It was only accessible through a 1-800 number, and yet it was so important to so many of us.
Xander-Antoine [00:14:04] Come to think of it, the Pure Moods album was advertised probably dozens of times a day on nineties television, and yet I don't know anybody who actually called that toll free number and ordered the CD or cassette tape. We have mysteries in life that have no answers. Is the soul located in the pineal gland? Is there life after death? What does the Pyramid CD actually sound like? Of course, I've listened to playlists with the pyramid songs, but somehow, somehow I don't think it's the same. Life is full of mysteries.
Faye [00:14:46] I wanted to zoom out a little bit more, Xander-Antoine, and ask you what path Pure Moods set you up on after you first heard that commercial in 1994?
Xander-Antoine [00:15:02] Well, I think what Pure Moods really had to offer was a glimpse of a world distant to the everyday world that we inhabit, be it geographically distant or be spiritually distant. It seems like when you watch this, when you watch this advertisement, it's like the veil between the worlds, between the spiritual world and the physical world shimmers. And for a moment you can catch a glimpse of what's on the other side. And when you have an experience like that, it sets you on a lifelong quest to to better understand what's beyond or what could be beyond. Straight from Europe. This album, Europe seemed so exotic and I wanted to understand better what might be there. And if the answer to some of these mysteries could lie there.
Faye [00:16:02] Pure Moods was important for me. I think, as best said in the words spoken, “the perfect soundtrack for your way of life direct from Europe.” When I first heard that, I didn't know what that way of life would look like, but I knew whatever it was, I wanted to be listening to this music as a contemporary adult. In Europe.
Xander-Antoine [00:16:30] It's a tricky thing. It seems that when you think that you might finally reach an answer, even more questions open up. But when I listen to this album, I know that the search is the important part because the answers will never be found.
Faye [00:16:50] Yes, an enigma, really.
Faye [00:19:44] We turn off the television. We stop the compact disc player. We reflect on our pure moods. What moods are we in? Where will we go? What will we find as we get into physical media? This concludes chapter one. Let's get physical media in TrancePose Physical Media as an Act of Curiosity. An audio self-help, self guided book on tape. How will media found by your curiosity in the physical world change what you play and eject? Please, fast forward for chapter two. Physical Media found at a used bookstore? Or will it find us? Join us in chapter two.