Various – Pure Chill Out

This beautifully packaged compilation brings together some of the best chill out tracks from some popular names, like Moby and Fila Brazillia, and some unfamiliar names, like Nitin Sawhney and Phobos. Pure Chill Out is a good introduction to the chill out genre, a pleasant compilation and a overview of many interesting artists.

The compilation brings together 17 relaxing tracks, mostly instrumental, but with a few songs. Some of the best tracks are from well-known names. Moby weighs in with Rushing, from Play, probably the most well-known track on the album. Though it’s been played a lot, it’s still a great track, and fits with the mood of the disk. Delerium contributes Enchanted, which is fairly typical of Delerium’s soft-core porn style of world music. It combines world-music samples, synths and some whispered lyrics that may sound sexy or silly, depending on your mood.

Fila Brazilia’s A Zed & 2 L’s ends the album on a high note. It’s a great chill out track that starts out as almost ambient music and then slowly builds to a medium-tempo groove. It sounds like it’s built on sampled loops, and throws enough bizarre samples into the mix to keep things interesting. Kruder and Dorfmeister’s Original Bedroom Rockers is slow and moody, and a little edgier than many of the other tracks. Julee Cruise’s The Orbiting Beatnik is a bizarre number that could have been the theme for the X-Files. She talks about there being “something out there” over chill out backing tracks.

Heather Nova contributes Gloomy Sunday, one of the most daring numbers on the album. Nova’s lyrics are gothic:

“Sunday is gloomy
My hours are slumberless
Dearest the shadows
I live with are numberless
Little white flowers
Will never awaken you
Not where the black coach
Of sorrow has taken you
Angels have no thoughts
Of ever returning you
Would they be angry
If I thought of joining you?”

Nova has an excellent voice, and performs this very dramatically, in a style that is almost cabaret. This track is one of the more intrusive on the album, only revealing its full drama with close listening.

There are also many tracks that are from artists you probably haven’t heard of. Some of these are intriguing enough to make you want to hear more. Org Lounge’s Amon Dur combines loop-based weirdness with jazzy vibes, Rhodes piano and what sounds like Mellotron flute. Phobos comes through with another Mellotron-heavy number, the trip-hop Edge of Forever. This track makes inventive use of many of the cliches of seventies “head” music. Opium 45° is unique track that mixes pedal steel guitar, in the style of Brian Eno’s Apollo, with sequenced synth that sounds like early Tangerine Dream.

Julia Messenger’s contribution, I Miss You, is the only track that seems out of place on the album. It sounds like a demo for a Christine McVee Fleetwood Mac number. The vocals are a little weak, and the only chill-out connection seems to be a grainy drum loop.

The best compilations and mix CD introduce you to an interesting mixture of artists and music, while also working as an hour-long listening experience. Pure Chill Out showcases some artists that many listeners will want to hear more from. For the most part, it also works well as a relaxing hour of music.

  • Rushing – Moby
  • Makes Me Feel – Afterlife
  • Always – Bent
  • Breathing Light – Nitin Sawhney
  • I Miss You – Julia Messenger
  • Enchanted – Delerium
  • Stars – Nightmares on Wax
  • Gloomy Sunday – Heather Nova
  • Aquarius – Waldeck
  • Opium 45° – Moodswings
  • The Orbiting Beatnik – Julee Cruise
  • I’m Not Joking – Baby Mammoth
  • Edge of Forever – Phobos
  • Original Bedroom Rockers – Peter Kruder, Richard Dorfmeister
  • Amon Dur – ORG Lounge
  • Squelch – T Spigot
  • A Zed & 2 L’s – Fila Brazillia

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