Friday, June 24, 2011
Music Review: Mark Snow - The X-Files Expanded Edition Volume 1
There is nothing that evokes the spirit of the '90s for me the way the theme to The X-Files does. The spooky ambience Mark Snow creates for the opening is the perfect accompaniment to the mysterious imagery, especially the show’s motto: “I Want To Believe.” The program ran from 1993-2002, but it was the episodes of the latter part of the '90s that really captured what came to be known as “Millennium Fever.” Paranoia about the calendar turning from 1999 to 2000 was rampant, and The X-Files was right there with plots about conspiracies and the supernatural.
Mark Snow’s music was a constant throughout all 202 episodes of The X-Files. Although he was nominated five times, Snow never won an Emmy for his invaluable contributions. But the boutique label La-La Land Records have come up with a beautiful box set to honor his work. The X-Files Expanded Edition, Volume 1 is an impressive four-CD package with over five hours of music from all nine seasons of the series. For fans, this collection is a must.
The set offers music from representative episodes of each season. For those of us who tuned in every Sunday night, there are a lot of memories contained here. Cues from classics such as “Dreamland,” “Musings From A Cigarette Smoking Man,” and “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” are all wonderful reminders of just what a great series The X-Files was.
Like the shows themselves, each CD opens with the main theme, and closes with the end titles. The Main Title was originally timed at 0:48, and later shortened to 0:37, while the End Credit remained unchanged. To fill in the beginning and ending of each disc, the titles and credits have been remixed and extended by Snow.
By using this format, The X-Files Expanded Edition consciously mimics the arc of the series. While the alien conspiracies and characters such as The Lone Gunmen were always a part of the program, there were also wonderful standalone episodes as well. Listening to the individual CDs of this set works in much the same way. Familiar themes run throughout each disc, yet somehow each functions as an organic whole. A great deal of care was obviously taken in the programming, as the whole thing blends seamlessly together.
It has taken far too long, but the music of one of television’s finest series has at last been honored in the manner it deserves. The X-Files Expanded Edition, Volume 1 is an exquisitely packaged affair, with extensive liner notes by Randall D. Carson. The set is a limited edition of 3,000, which I imagine will go fast.
Remember, the truth is out there.
Article first published as Music Review: Mark Snow - The X-Files Expanded Edition, Volume 1 on Blogcritics.