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The Truth and the Light: Music from the X-Files

Grade: A+

Mark Snow's personal conspiracy is to make sure that the audience isn't aware of his music.

Snow, who composes between 40 and 50 minutes of music for each episode of The X-Files, is one of those few people who knows how to hit his audience (and hit hard) just below the conscious level.

So, when Songs in the Key of X came out earlier this year, the fact that the only piece of Snow's music on it was the actual theme was a bit of a disappointment.

The Truth and the Light rectifies this in a big way. Yes, it does include the theme song, which is named "Materia Primoris: The X-Files Theme (Main Title)", but it also includes much more.

The album is nearly 50 minutes long, about the same length as an episode of the show. It is wall-to-wall music -- a wall of sound, that is.

Snow's lush orchestrations, chock full of eerie strings, hollow synthesizers and noises that can't be explained, fill any episode, but they also stand extremely well alone.

But the music isn't the only thing on "The Truth and the Light". The voices of Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Deep Throat, X, Cancer-Man and even X-Files creator Chris Carter litter this recording, working as another instrument in the masterful mix.

Memorizing the tracks can be a little tricky, however. The names of all 20 tracks are in Latin such as "Lamenta", "Facetus Malum", "Carmen Amatorium Ex Arcanum", and "Exoptare Ex Veritas".

While Snow's soundscapes can be called music, they almost evolve beyond that. Each track breathes with a haunting life of its own.

Some tracks embody fear, others hate. Different tracks capture the sense of being alone in the world, others the sense of despair. All, however, always contain the backdrop of the conspiracy.

That's what this is, really. A soundtrack to a conspiracy.

The Truth and the Light is a successful experiment in shaping sound into a solid form, something tangible that's almost real enough to scare the life out of someone.

Listen to it with the lights off, because the truth is out there.

Source: Cliff Hicks; Arts & Entertainment [www.libfind.unl.edu/DailyNeb.arch/zzzzz/12-96/9/arts/truth.html], 1996.

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