For those who remembered my review of ‘The X-Files Volume One’ music and how much I thought it was long over-due and wondered if they did a second volume would contain certain episodes. Wonder no more, because here’s Volum Two. Reading the forty page booklet, the first episode here was ‘Eve’ which automatically raised a smile to my face and a quick check of my glass for any green deposits. Can’t be too careful. This time around, you also get music from seasons one, two, seven and nine.
This volume, according to the booklet, focuses on composer Mark Snow’s action and suspense music for the series which comes from thirty-three episodes plus the theme music variants from across the nine seasons. Actually, the only real changes was it being shortened on occasion.
Creator Chris Carter originally wanted themed noises as witnessed by the opening of the pilot episode and had to be persuaded to accept Mark Snow’s theme. Interestingly, none of the characters had their own musical themes which makes each episode music so individual. Thinking about that now, this was certainly the best way to go. As Frank Spotnitz points out, Mark Snow brought pixiedust to each story and brought the mood to life.
I do think it is possible to pick out certain elements that distinguish Mark Snow compositions, though. Listening to them as a whole, there are certain instruments and things like piano rifts and whatever synthesiser noise he uses that sounds like a weird breath that always pops up. Occasionally, there is the falling rain rift,
Picking out favourites is always tough. It depends a lot on those that remain in your head. ‘E.B.E.’ from season one certainly qualifies. As does ‘Tooms’, but that’s no stretch of the imagination. ‘Born Again’s eerie piano pause still gets you right there. ‘Colony’ has that weird sticcato beat that sends a chill down your back.
On the second CD’s second season, I wasn’t quite sure about ‘Soft Light’, but after its first track, the mood was set. ‘Herrenvolk’ with its massive chase beat certainly grabs you for sheer menace. With ‘Tunguiska’, Mark Snow gets the music down to a piano beat before building things up again. Sometimes, the music gets you into a dreamy reverie and then wakens you with a massive nightmare.
With the third CD’s seventh season ‘Terma’, again there are sinister over-tones to get you in the mood for the rest of the disc. I did have reservations with the first volume for the apparent odd episode choices for inclusion but with volume two, I get the impression it was to ensure the right track is there to hook you in for the rest. In comparison, ‘Gethsemane’, is quite a laid-back piece. If anything, this third CD is the quietest of the four in this volume.
The fourth CD’s ninth season offering has to be the most haunted with a dose of melancholy, especially when Mark Snow drops down to playing a piano in ‘Requiem’.
Interestingly, it’s the complete suites that tend to make the most impression. As you might have noticed, I became a huge fan of Mark Snow’s music over the years and as this second volume shows, ‘The X-Files’ is all the stronger for the mood music he clearly made his own here. Don’t forget, this is a limited edition, so don’t hang around.
(pub: La-La Land Records LLLCD 1270. 4 CDs 302 minutes 72 tracks boxset with 40 page booklet. Price: $49.98 (US). Limited edition: 3000 units.
check out website: www.lalalandrecords.com/XFilesVol2.html