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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mark Snow -- The Truth and the Light (Music from The X-Files)

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10/10

The next best thing to watching The X-Files is listening to Mark Snow's The Truth and the Light. Mark Snow composed the music for all nine of The X-Files' seasons, but The Truth and the Light, released in late 1996, only covers the first three. Thankfully, those first three seasons contain arguably the show's two best (Seasons 2 and 3), and the music found therein encompasses every mood and feeling the show achieved throughout its nine-year run.
Snow used sythesizers to create a percussive score, thick with atmosphere, punctuating it at times with little touches of strings and voice. Something I forgot until I listened to this album last week in the car with my five-year old: this music is quite scary. By track five, I had to apologize to my son and turn it off, though his eyes were a little bigger than usual for the rest of drive. Snow is heavily responsible for much of the dark feeling imbued deeply into the fabric of The X-Files (of course, along with the subject matter, and the "no lights must every be turned on in any room, ever" direction).
Listening to this soundtrack is like stepping through a window into another plane. It is extremely transportive. Snow also produced the album, along with Jeff Charbonneau, and the duo made the then highly controversial decision to scatter snippets of dialogue from the show throughout The Truth and the Light's 20 tracks. While the critics of 1996 took issue with this choice, here in 2015, it sounds brilliant. By this point, the dialogue spoken and the music itself are so intimately woven together, they are nearly inseparable.
I must not fail to mention that, like the show itself, the moods of Snow's score are actually quite diverse. This music is more than just haunting and creepy. Some tracks hold a plaintive and meditative quality, some a thrilling rush, while some are quite light-hearted, representing the more comedic tones the show was quite capable of creating.
Overall, The Truth and the Light is my favorite of the more than a handful of albums associated with The X-Files. In essence, it is the show, all nine seasons, compacted into one 46-minute wormhole into the unknown. Awesome.


1996 Warner Bros.
1. Introitus: Praeceps Transito Spatium 1:51
2. Materia Primoris: The X-Files Theme (Main Title) 3:22
3. Raptus ("Pilot") 3:16
4. Adflatus" ("One Breath") 4:00
5. Deverbero ("F. Emasculata") 1:28
6. Cantus Excio ("The Calusari") 4:42
7. Mercutura ("Gender Bender", "F. Emasculata") 3:23
8. Lamenta ("Roland") 1:48
9. Insequi ("Oubliette") 1:37
10. Otium ("Conduit") 1:43
11. Dubitatio ("F. Emasculata") 2:49
12. Iter ("Nisei") 1:20
13. Progigno De Axis ("Nisei") 1:35
14. Carmen Amatorium Ex Arcanum ("3") 2:38
15. Facetus Malum ("Humbug") 2:42
16. Memoria ("Shapes") 2:02
17. Mitus Lumen ("Soft Light") 2:41
18. Fides Fragilis ("The Erlenmeyer Flask") 1:35
19. Exoptare Ex Veritas ("Oubliette") 1:30
20. Kyrie ("Grotesque") 1:43

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