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The X-Files: The Score

Turn it up to: 10/11

Caption: SNOW CHILLS – TV composer Mark Snow expertly melds his synthesized sounds with big screen orchestration.

Are you afraid of the dark? You will be if there's a stereo playing Mark Snow's bone-chilling masterpiece of a score for The X-Files movie. Packed with more than an hour of the taut, tense music we've come to expect from Snow, this score continually goes bump in the night when you least expect it and cements a career in feature film composing for the long-time TV composer if he wants it.

But what makes this pure sonic pleasure is marveling at what producer David Was describes in the liner notes as Snow's "spare, Zen-like palette" for the TV show explode into 3-D with the use of big-screen orchestration. Now the spooky bending synth notes and metallic, alien scratchings are augmented by banks of violins and kettle drums to bring the conspiracy right in your face. The music builds to sweeping, epic proportions without becoming overly melodramatic, then suddenly shrinks away and hides. All the cues are bursting with wonderful variety and, unlike so many other composers who, in an effort to be modern, sloppily meld synthesized noise with an orchestra, the seams here are undetectable.

Everything works together organically to achieve one thing: that frightening, nerve-wracking feeling The X-Files has made us crave weekly for the past five years. The treatment of the TV show's amazing theme in the first cue, "Thredony in X", is also a real treat, building around that creepy, high-pitched six note riff in a truly inspired way.

Source: Graham Verdon; TNT's Rough Cut [www.roughcut.com/reviews/soundtracks/x_files_score.html], 1998.

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