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Soundtrack review: The X-Files – volume 2 (Mark Snow – 2014)

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If in the first volume the power was in the smaller cues for smaller episodes, the second volume is all about the big mythology moments.

After living for so many years with carefully collected bootlegs and dvd rips and other dubious sources, to have an official remastered 4CD score to “The X-Files” was quite a gift. For La La Land to release a second volume of another 5 hours of Mark Snow magic was just beyond imagination. They can just keep them coming until they cover every single second of the show because that sound is in my blood and the need for it has to be fed. The music of “The X-files” is the kind you either love or dislike. The division is very clear and it might be hard for people who aren’t fans of the show to connect with this collection.

The nostalgia for this show and its score is all about the imperfections in sound or in the simpler musings of Mark Snow. There are cues that are no more than background music but they were background music to a magical TV show and they were my companion for countless hours of holding my breath and wondering what came next. Some of the piano pulses still match the beating of my heart and I cannot b objective when talking about this score. Listening to “The X-Files” is not about the quality of the music or the technical analysis; it’s all about feelings, memories and nostalgia. Those can never feel outdated.

The dark and mysterious veil that Mark Snow weaved covers me slowly and I can only be happy that there’s five hours of this to sit through. I am familiar with this, I’ve been here before, I’ve put in those hours. There are moments like “Druid Hill” from Tooms that for me are like a trigger because that’s how the start of most episodes sounded like. I remember hearing those notes week in and week about and getting excited for that pre credit scene because it opened up a new mystery.

The most precious cues to me from this release are the episode suites. The show had quite a few mythology episodes that I know by heart and for some of them we get proper suite, 8 minutes long or 11 minutes long which flow without breaks just like the action used to. What more could I ask for? There’s “End game” which is still one of my favorite episodes ever and we get two suites mounting up to 20 minutes. That’s half the episode right there and I relive once again Scully’s frantic search for her partner, Skinner’s intervention and Mulder’s renewed faith to keep looking. Some of the most emotional moments of the series are completed by these two suites and for me they alone would be worth the price of the box set. I can almost see the blade of the alien bounty hunter’s weapon shinning in the dark and I hear the sizzling of the green toxic blood. Tunguska and the black oil get the same treatment. The terror of the Russian prison camp makes my skin crawl in parts of “Worm rock”.

For me and for any fan of the show, the strength of this volume likes in those suites. Many major mythology episodes are featured and a simple calculation shows that these special episode cues make up for a third of the score, more than 100 minutes. As the music goes on I anticipate them with the same excitement I anticipate watching those episodes again. From this collection my favorite CD was CD 3 because it included music from the two seasons I hold most dear, seasons 4 and 5. If your most special X-Files moments lie there, this will be your favorite as well.

If in the first volume the power was in the smaller cues for smaller episodes, the second volume is all about the big mythology moments. Above all though, the music of “The X-Files” is my favorite reflective place and time loses its meaning when I’m listening to it. The legacy of this show is unmatched even in music and I can’t wait to see what the third volume will collect!

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 194 / 299

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:

Main Title (Season 1)

Here We Go

1X21 – TOOMS: Druid Hill

Rats & Babes

2X16 – COLONY: Hypothermia

Alta

2X17 – END GAME: Scully’s Discovery / Mulder’s E-Mail Message / Skinner Helps Scully

Showdown / Saving Mulder / Faith to Keep Looking

Main Title (2nd Season)

– SOFT LIGHT: Eaten by Light

3X02 – PAPER CLIP: Smoky Gets in Your Eyes

Sacrifice / Skinner Gets Skinned

3X04 – CLYDE BRUCKMAN’S FINAL REPOSE: Yappi

Dumpster

3X24 – TALITHA CUMI: Fries and Faith

Discreet Distance

4X01 – HERRENVOLK: Needle Neck

4X09 – TUNGUSKA: Worm Rock

Chicken Wire Wrap

End Credits (Extended #1)

Main Title (7th Season)

4X10 – TERMA: Black Vermiform

Fire of Terma

– TEMPUS FUGIT: Pieces

Nine Minutes

4X24 – GETHSEMANE: Trails

Thawed

Deep Dupe

5X01 – REDUX: Little Vials of Proof

5X02 – REDUX II: Remission

5X14 – THE RED AND THE BLACK: Red Letter

Resist or Serve

Lil’ Cabin in Quebec

Main Title (9th Season)

5X17 – ALL SOULS: Baptism

Four Faces

6X09 – S.R. 819: Orgell

Bill of Health

7X22 – REQUIEM: Déjà vu

Ray

8X21 – EXISTENCE: Something Feels Off

Under Investigation

End Credits (1st Season)

I Made This / 20th Century Fox Fanfare (composed by Alfred Newman)

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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