With the increasing popularity of The X-Files as a tv-show, more merchandising products became available. So it was only a matter of time, until finally a CD with the score by Mark Snow would be released. In March 1996, The X-Files theme was released as an EP and became a huge success in Europe, even reaching Number 1 in the French single charts. In September of that same year, the album X-Files: The Truth and the Light followed.
Being the first ever release of Snow´s music from the show, the album had a concept of its own. More than just being a simple soundtrack CD, the album gives a certain feeling of a kind of radio play, because it has dialoge from the show in it. This was also the most negative aspect for many fans, because they wanted to have the music only, not some kind of radio play. Another aspect of this compilation is the fact that the track titles are all in Latin, so it´s not easy to identify the episodes the tracks were taken from. Luckily the fans came up with an English translation of the track titles and they even managed to sort the episodes out. The album also concentrates on Snow´s more dark and sinister textures, leaving some of the first three seasons’ most beautiful musical moments behind. The booklet offers some short liner notes by Chris Carter, a blurred image of Mark Snow, and some other bizarre images, all mainly colored green or blue.
The concept for the album came from Jeff Charbonneau, Mark Snow´s Music Editor and sometimes co-composer. For example he is mentioned as a composer for certain tracks on La-La-Land´s MillenniuM 2-CD-Set, using Snow´s material. This is not that unlikely considering the fact that Snow had to compose for two or three parallel-running shows and some movies at a time, which just can´t be done by one person alone. So you have an editor, who uses your material and does additional music. Sometimes the Music Editor just cuts already recorded pieces of music to a new piece to fit the scene.
The CD opens with dark soundscapes and Chris Carter repeating a speech that Mulder gave in the episode „Syzygy.“ This piece of music is only the pathway for The X-Files theme, which appears next. The theme sounds like the version from the show, only in a longer version, which makes „The Truth and the Light“ the only release where the theme is featured in its original version; all other releases had reworked versions of the theme.
The album is kind of flowing; the tracks all blend into each other. But even if you know the episodes the dialoge is taken from, you don´t necessarily hear the music from the certain episodes, since the dialoge was put in tracks that came from very different seasons. The first track after the main theme, „Raptus,“ has dialoge between Mulder and Duane Barry in it, but the music is actually from the show´s pilot. The piece of music is also very dark and disturbing, making a slow spheric turn at the end, when Barry talks about the abduction.
„Adflatus“ is surely a highlight of the album. Taken from the episode „One Breath,“ it offers Snow´s mournful strings and an almost whispering choir, giving the music a dream-like character, incorporating dialoge from „The Blessing Way“ and „Apocrypha,“ by Scully about her abduction, which gives the music a touch of eternity.
Another stand-out track is „Cantus Exico,“ taken from „The Calusari.“ With its dark strings and cello, combined with Snow´s mysterious sound design, it offers a foreshadowing glimpse of MillenniuM, where Snow´s music got even darker than in The X-Files. „Lamenta“ presents a typical Snow-tune; a piano-based, kind of sad melody, which Snow composed for Roland, the character from the episode with the same name.
„Otium,“ translated „Peace,“ indeed offers some rest between tracks of distorted soundscapes and percussion-driven action moments, with spheric string sounds and a kind of a child´s song melody, blending into „Dubitatio,“ also a piece of melodic beauty in the beginning, where the spheric strings are accompanied by single notes played on a piano, but it soon descends into a moody conversation between Mulder and Deep Throat.
More suspense arises in „Iter“ and „Progigno de Axis,“ with dark soundscapes and rhythmic string patterns and percussion, before blending into my personal highlight from the album, „Carmen Amatorium Ex Arcanum.“ This track plays at the beginning of the episode „3,“ where we see L.A. at night, glowing red from forest fires, and a man standing at the terrane of his house, looking into the sky. Behind him, there is a strange woman, hiding in the shadows. They get into the swimming pool, where she ultimately drinks his blood, before two other figures appear, who kill the man. The piece opens with spheric sound designs and a little melody played by harp over it, before the strings go up and down and disembogue in a mysterious motif of piano, which becomes a kind of love theme. The love gets destroyed by harsh percussion and distorted trumpet sounds, as the man is killed by the „3.“
„Facetus malum“ offers the plucked strings that Snow often uses in more ironic episodes, this particular piece taken from the episode, „Humbug.“ But it becomes a very melancholic piano-melody, with a solo singer–not at all the kind of music you would expect to hear in a more comedic episode about a travelling circus of freaks. „Fides Fragilis“ again presents the more spheric sound of Snow, with mournful strings and a layered background. „Exoptare Ex Veritas“ sounds like a good-bye–a sad piece of piano-based melody, with a quiet choir and Snow´s typical strings.
The final track, „Kyrie,“ has a very religious sound to it. A dark choir provides the background for a solo singer, before transforming into some kind of revelation-theme, ending with the words „Trust no one.“ On the UK release of the album, the final track is not „Kyrie“, but a remix of The X-Files theme.
THE X-FILES: THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT
Music composed by Mark Snow
Words by Chris Carter
Concept and Sound Design by Jeff Charbonneau
Produced by Mark Snow, Jeff Charbonneau, and Chris Carter