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PEIA: The X-Files Articles
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Monday, May 3, 1999
Glen's review of "The Snow Files" ((Mark Snow compilation disc)) !!!

Glen here...
...with a brief heads up about a forthcoming CD project from my magnanimous benefactors at Sonic Images.

It's called "The Snow Files" - it is a compilation of music from composer Mark Snow, who is probably best known from his extensive work on The X-Files - but had a lengthy history scoring television and film before said series ever hit the air.

I have never been a fan of Mark Snow. To be completely honest (and since my voicing unpopular sentiments about scores has become somewhat common place in the last week), I have never really been a fan of Mark Snow. I have found a vast majority of his music for The X-Files tedious, a-melodic, and boring. I find his theme music for the series doofy, and something of a laughable caricature of spooky "horror" / "sci-fi" genre music. Many of his previous works include themes for series such as T.J. Hooker and Heart To Heart - not exactly the most dazzling credentials. As such, it was with no small amount of disinterest that I approached listening to The Snow Files. What the hell could this CD offer me that I could possibly be interested in?

It offered a lot.

The Snow Files is a well-conceived, extremely diverse collection of Snow music from projects many people have never heard of - or at the very least might not associate with Mark Snow. The album contains his sexy, techno-slick, semi-European theme for the Le Femme Nikita series. Some of the CD is broken up into sub-categories...like "Darkness and Desire"...under which his elegant and slightly imbalanced music for Conundrum is featured, along with pieces from Seduced and Betrayed, A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story, and Caroline at Midnight. All of these pieces are heavy on atmospehere, thick with style and imminently listenable melody lines.

Other sections of the album include "Love and Hope", which includes tracks from The Substitute Wife, The Oldest Living Confederate Widow (probably my favorite track of the album, it's very emotional and moving), Smokejumpers, and a selection from one of the recent 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea TV productions (the track is specifically titled "Midnight Artic Walk").

"The Music is Out There" portion of the disc offers music from Snow's score to the recent feature film Disturbing Behavior, as well as an extended suite of music from The X-Files (still my least favorite music on the disc. Hey, at least I'm consistent!).

The CD's three bonus tracks include the end title music from Dark Justice, Snow's unused theme music for the Max Hedroom TV series, and his surreal "Bye, Bye!" sign-off music featured in Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

An odd and eclectic collection of music to be sure - but this disc will serve one very important function when it gets released later this month: no matter how one looks at it, Snow is an accomplished composer who has been scoring projects for many years. Recently, he has been pigeon holed by many as being someone who only writes a certain type of music (i.e. TXF). This disc will shatter such pre-conceptions, and remind listeners that Mark Snow is an enormously versatile composer, who is extremely capable of writing affecting, lyrical, and dynamic music.

I didn't like Mark Snow music before I popped this disc in for its first listen, but now I'm a fan - and I'm wondering how many more Mark Snow gems are still out there somewhere, waiting to be discovered.


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