Case Analysis

"Nature's Best"

CD review for The X-Files: Fight The Future Expanded Score
By Alexander Grodzinski
Page Editor: XScribe

It's been sixteen years since The X-Files hit the big screen. Shot at a production budget of around 60 million dollars, the movie did cost 58 million dollars more than an average episode of the show. The movie did well in movie theatres around the world, although it wasn't THE blockbuster one could have been expected after the show became a cultural phenomenon in the mid-1990's. Tied in between season five and six, the movie continues the story arc about the planned colonialisation through an alien force.

With Mark Snow's music being such an important voice of the show, it came with no surprise that he also got the job of doing the music for the movie. Whilst his music for the show is completely done on keyboards and synthesizers, the bigger scale of the movie called for a bigger scale in the music. And so Mark got his hands on an orchestra, but of course combined that with some of his electronic stuff. As Mark recalls, some of the show runners were surprised to see him conducting the orchestra, since they always saw him just as the “synthesizer guy.“

Snow used the orchestra to perform more ambient soundscapes, which he would have designed on his synthesizer for the show, as well as large-scale “conspiracy music“ and a sweeping love theme for Mulder and Scully. The biggest difference from the music for the show would be the use of The X-Files Theme itself. During the various seasons of the show, the main theme, besides the intro of course, only showed up in very special scenes of very few episodes. This made the theme special, since it didn't appear every time Mulder and Scully were on screen. Throughout the movie, the theme can be heard on various occasions, sometimes very subtle, hidden within the music.

As a companion to the movie, two soundtrack albums were released on the Elektra (Warner) label. One was a compilation of songs inspired by the movie and the other one was the score album with Mark Snow's music.

Now, sixteen year's later, La-La-Land Records presents an expanded release of Mark's score for The X-Files movie, although there are just a few tracks added compared to the original release. The new ones are “Quitting,“ “Crossroads,“ and “Space Hole“. In the case of “Crossroads,“ the version featured on the original release was not the version from the movie. On the new release, for the first time the music is presented as heard in the movie, with the album version of “Crossroads“ and an alternative version of the track “Plague“ as bonus tracks. The original release also had some sound anomalies. The stereo channels were reversed unintentionally and overall it suffered from a muffled sound quality.

All this is now history. The new release improved the sound quality, made it much clearer and more crisp. Combined with the new tracks, this is the most definitive release of the score to date, although some tracks are still missing. Most of all, fans were waiting for a track called “Smoking Telegram,“ which can be heard during the final scene in the movie. This was a last-minute re-score, since there was no music in the scene at first. But Chris Carter decided to put music in, so Mark rushed into his studio, composed a piece of music, and sent it to the mixing stage on a DAT. Unfortunately, due to this last-minute job, Mark wasn't able to make a copy of that DAT for his archive and the original DAT got lost during the post-production process. This means that no original recording of this piece of music survived. MV Gerhardt from La-La-Land Records said that they spent almost two years looking for it. They even went through every single DAT that Mark has in his archive with the music from the show and the movie, but “Smoking Telegram“ didn't show up. Another possibility would have been to use the film stems. But neither Mark nor the studio wanted to do that, so “Smoking Telegram“ stays lost unfortunately.

More tracks that aren't on the new release are “Roadside Memorial“ and “Man in the Shadows.“ These are two tracks that weren't in the movie, so Mark decided not to put them onto the album. Tracks that were in the movie, but couldn't be located (similar to “Smoking Telegram“) are “Rooftops,“ “Hole in the Wall,“ and “Bee Collar.“

Maybe someday these tracks will show up again, but I wouldn't hold my breath for it. As for now, the new release presents the score in the best way possible. The booklet has liner notes by Julie Kirgo, but unfortunately no track-by-track analysis. It also features three interviews with Mark Snow, conducted by Randall D. Larson over several years. The first interview took place in 1997, shortly before Mark began working on the movie. The second interview was done in 1998, whilst Mark was in the middle of doing the score and the third one was done earlier this year. Unfortunately some wrong information got into the interviews. On several occasions it is stated that the movie was a tie-in between season six and seven of the TV show. This is of course wrong, since the movie came out between season five and six. The first episode of season six continues where the movie ended. Mark already used music from the movie in the final episode of season five (”The End“), where a piece of the track “Crater Hug“ can be heard. In the booklet it is stated that this happened in the final episode of season six. Besides that, the interviews with Mark are very informative and show the passion that Mark had for this project.

But “Crater Hug“ is not the only piece of music from the movie that appeared also on the show. On the Volume One X-Files Set, that was also released by La-La-Land Records, you can hear pieces of music from the film in the tracks “Train Tune“ (from “One Son“) and “Sea of Blood“ (from “The Sixth Extinction“). The track “Closure“ from “The End“ features “Crater Hug.“. “Sea of Blood“ features a snippet of the track “Plague“ and “Train Tune“ has some of “Corn Copters“ in it.

So, if you're looking for an orchestra version of Mark's music for The X-Files, this album is for you. And if you already have the original album from 1998, you should consider getting the new one as well; the improved sound alone makes it worth it.

The album is limited to 3000 copies and around 200 copies were signed by Mark Snow. These copies sold out within ten minutes, but the album is of course still available. The X-Files: Fight the Future marks another milestone in Snow's career. And the release is of course a nice little appetizer for the upcoming X-Files Volume Three Box Set by La-La-Land Records in 2015.

TRACK LISTING:

01) Threnody in “X” 3:18
02) B.C. Blood 2:28
03) Goop 4:20
04) Soda Pop 4:46
05) Quitting* :53
06) Already Dead 1:43
07) Cave Base 1:32
08) Remnants 2:13
09) Plague 3:24
10) Fossil Swings :59
11) Goodbye Bronschweig 2:41
12) A Call to Arms :59
13) Elders / Crossroads* 2:35
14) Corn Hives 3:06
15) Corn Copters 2:36
16) Out of Luck 1:01
17) Stung Kissing / Cargo Hold 4:13
18) Come and Gone 5:29
19) Trust No One 2:53
20) Ice Base 1:35
21) Space Hole* 2:14
22) Mind Games 3:53
23) Nightmare 2:45
24) Pod Monster Suite 5:23
25) Crater Hug 2:04
26) Facts 2:35

Additional Music
27) Plague (alternate segment)* 1:29
28) Crossroads (album version) 2:20

Total Time: 75:48

* Previously Unreleased

And the track “Smoking Telegram,“ ripped from the movie's audio track.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uszYS6eBajk

Music composed and produced by Mark Snow
Additional Orchestration and Electronic Programming: Sean Callery, Louis Febre
Executive Soundtrack Producers: Chris Carter and David Was
Music Editor: Jeff Charbonneau
Music recorded and mixed by Larold Rebhun

2014 Limited Edition
Executive Producers for La-La-Land Records: Matt Verboys and MV Gerhard
The Special Edition produced by Mark Snow and Nick Redman
Art Direction: Jim Titus
Liner Notes by Julie Kirgo
Interviews conducted by Randall D. Larson

You can pick up this title on-line at La La Land Records.