X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

X-Files music: Event Series release + more to come

After their impressive multi-CD box sets with music from all Ten Thirteen shows, The X-Files in particular, soundtracks specialists La La Land Records released a set with music from the recent season 10 of The X-Files — or, as it is officially known, “The X-Files Event Series“.

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The 2-CD set with music by Mark Snow was released on April 25 2017, just over a year after the series aired. Soundtracks for each season of television series have become common practice over the past ten years, so this should not come as a surprise. However, given how scarce Mark Snow XF material was until LLL started focusing on the franchise, it is some event!

2 CDs with a total running time of XXX just for 6 episodes means that this release is close to being a complete score — compare with 12 CDs for 89 episodes covered by the “original series” box sets, there’s a lot more material per episode here. Here is the track list:

Disc One

MY STRUGGLE

1. Prologue (2:59)
2. THE X-FILES Main Title (Season 9) (0:36)
3. Ride to Roswell (2:09)
4. Call to Mulder (1:49)
5. Sveta (4:31)
6. Sveta Exam (1:47)
7. Alien Replica Vehicle/Element 115 (3:09)
8. Lab Labors (2:16)
9. Sveta’s Story (3:17)
10. Mulder’s Office (1:58)
11. Deep Throat (2:35)
12. Home Fire (1:55)
13. Conspiracy Montage (5:14)
14. Sveta Confesses (1:48)
15. Parking Garage (2:26)
16. Sveta Gets Zapped (1:18)
17. Smoking Man (0:44)

FOUNDER’S MUTATION

18. Insecure Insecurity (2:30)
19. Hand Message (3:33)
20. Pull the Thread/Semi-Alien Boy (10:04)
21. Capsules (5:01)
22. Aquaiescent (1:46)
23. A Mother Never Forgets (2:23)
24. The Farm House/Catching Kyle (3:32)
25. The Real Molly (2:46)
26. Mulder’s Memories (2:47)

Disc One Total Time: 75:55
Disc Two

HOME AGAIN

1. City Shower Services (1:15)
2. No Prints/The Call (2:17)
3. Extubation (0:37)
4. Remorse (1:41)
5. Sub-Urban (3:05)
6. Tulku (3:33)
7. More Remorse (2:20)

BABYLON

8. Prayer (1:13)
9. Einstein/Miller (2:01)
10. Mugwump (5:02)
11. Evacuation (3:25)
12. Ummu (2:48)
13. Motel (1:35)
14. Walk With Me (1:24)

MY STRUGGLE II

15. Recap (1:31)
16. Scully’s Story (2:27)
17. Fed Ford/Alien American DNA (4:35)
18. Vaccine Alienation/One-Class Infection (2:27)
19. Smokin’ God (6:58)
20. The Spartan Virus (7:48)
21. Crispr Cas9 (6:33)
22. William Is Out There (4:32)
23. THE X-FILES End Credits (New Orbit) (0:35)
24. I Made This/20th Century Fox Fanfare*(0:08)

MULDER AND SCULLY MEET THE WERE-MONSTER

25. Bonus Track: Suite (4:32)


Disc Two Total Time: 79.14
Total Set Running Time: 154.69

The music in the aired episodes is notoriously absent: it is there, but the audio mix has the music sound track usually turned low and the unusual amount of dialogue left very little space for the music to shine (and the episodes to breathe — one major drawback for season 10). This left me disappointed at Mark Snow, but my misgivings were wrong.

A mix of old and new

The music in this set is nothing short of excellent! Mark Snow shines by writing music that feels both modern and in continuation with his soundtrack for the ‘original series’. This is very much intentional: the series might not have been perfect but its clear intention was to try to be modern while attempting to recall the classic, early seasons of the show.

The tone of the music harkens back especially to the early seasons of the show, seasons 3-4 especially, rather than the comedic seasons 6-7 or the horns melodies-heavy seasons 8-9. There are some specific audio libraries that Snow dug up from some twenty years ago and reused them here: that very same paranoid piano melody from E.B.E. (in Founder’s Mutation: A Mother Never Forgets), those pensive horns like in Quagmire, these piano melodies on top of bass synth moods like in Little Green Men, these awe-filling choirs like in All Souls, that unsettling undulating drone like in Colony, even melancholic violins like in Millennium (in Home Again), there is plenty here that feels like home. Even the comedic cues sound like Small Potatoes or Bad Blood.

This is all mixed with the music style explored by Snow in the soundtrack for I Want To Believe: splicing his trademark synthesizer orchestral-like sound together with elements of electronic music. There is a lot of old-school Mark Snow synthesizer mixed with electronic pulsating rhythms and tempo beats here, similar to IWTB tracks A Higher Conscious or Mountain Montage/The Plow.

Six Episodes

Here is the breakdown of the set per episode:

10X1: My Struggle39:55
10X2: Founder's Mutation34:22
10X3: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster04:32
10X4: Home Again14:48
10X5: Babylon17:28
10X6: My Struggle II36:51

Mark Snow establishes a soundscape for the two My Struggle episodes, reprising some of the music of the first in the second, in particular the music for the teaser (which we might get a third time in the new season?); the sense of rising tension and world-spanning stakes as My Struggle II develops is very palpable and really is X-Files at its most blockbustery massiveness.

Founder’s Mutation alternates between action-oriented music, horror and warmer tones in the William dreams. The music for Home Again, like the episode, is an odd mix between horror music like in Home, and the warmer music of the “relationship” scenes of I Want To Believe. Home Again ending includes a soft rendering of the X-Files main theme; thankfully, Mark Snow didn’t overdo it by quoting that melody too much (unlike the show’s taglines in the dialogue!).

Very unexpectedly, even the music for Babylon was a pleasant surprise — outside of the short comedic cues of which I was never a big fan of (including a quote of Beethoven’s Letter for Elise)– what is there makes one think of a tense, dark episode. Were-Monster gets just a medley, and it is true that its music was not that memorable.

The set wraps up with Snow’s remix of the main theme, with heavy use of electronics, used in the end titles. The opening titles used the original mix of the iconic original theme.

All of this makes me look forward to Mark Snow’s score for the upcoming season.

 


 

Volume 4 and beyond

We are still waiting for Volume 4 of La La Land’s music for the original X-Files, after Volume 3 was released in 2013.

The massive list with requests for cues has been updated — music from 147 episodes!

What was covered in Volume 3 was removed, more requests were added (cues gathered at FSM or sent to EatTheCorn).

The latest news from LLL is that they are indeed considering a Volume 4 given the sales of previous volumes, however indications are that this would be the last volume. The focus is expected to be on episodes not covered in previous volumes, however requests for important cues that were skipped the first time around are so recurring that I hope LLL might reconsider.

Another idea that has been floated by LLL is that of complete episodic soundtracks: the complete score of episodes instead of episode selections, with one CD containing perhaps 2 episodes. This has been attempted before with, for instance, the episodic scores to Babylon 5; the limited edition would be fewer than the 3000 units for the Volumes releases. This approach would make sense once the “best of” Volume 4 will be out, given the amount of material out there and the dedicated fanbase of Snow’s music.

Volume 3 was an odd mix of selected cues and complete episodic soundtracks where precious time could have been saved for short cues that are considered of higher priority. Volume 3 featured a peculiar selection of music, with some excellent material from the first couple of seasons that many had asked for (Deep Throat, GenderBender, 3) but also spending comparatively a lot of CD space on episodes for which a selection would have sufficed (Small Potatoes) or that were not on anyone’s list (El Mundo Gira, Trust No 1) or giving select episodes the complete soundtrack treatment. For example Drive was covered in its entirety with 32 min (only missing: two very short cues that are actually samples of the released cues), and Field Trip and Essence were also very close to complete.

Despite these quips, LLL has been issuing high quality box sets with material that was only the stuff of dreams a few years ago, so the fact that LLL does have plans for more releases to come can only be good news!

 

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