Though this four disc box set has the wink-wink subtitle “Volume One,” it contains music from all nine seasons of the paradigmatic supernatural series “The X-Files.” With 94 tracks clocking in over five hours of music this is more than just a “best of” collection, this is a catalog. With extensive liner notes describing the episodes covered as well as musical and anecdotal details of each track, this is not for those who have a passing interest in Mark Snow’s music – this is a box set for hardcore fans. The good news is that Snow’s music is good enough to enjoy whether you’ve memorized every musical cue from the 40 episodes included in this set or not. For the record there are 202 episodes in the complete “X-Files” canon, so this is by no means a complete set; hence the “Volume One” subtitle.

The opening notes are the all-too-familiar “X-Files” theme – as a side note, a different version of this whistling, darkly prophetic theme is included at the start of each disc for main title purists who would like to differentiate between the 45-second original main title and the later 30-second title. There are also a few remixes. The rest of the collection consists of various cues from episodes, mostly dark, ominous tracks with haunting piano and baleful strings. For those with a fuller sound system, the bass is what really keeps this collection moving along, though; allowing the dark overtones to resonate as the lighter instruments carry the melodies.

For anyone who watched this show with any regularity, these cues may drum up memories of the show. When a track entitled “Out the Window” from “Roland” (Season 1, Episode 22) became explosive, I could instantly picture the titular mild-mannered janitor from the episode. And moments like these can remind us why television and film soundtracks are so much more important than we think: if the sounds are distinctive enough and if the moments are singular enough, just hearing the pattern of music again can cause us to recall complete scenes. Mark Snow has the ability to create moments like this, and thankfully La-La-Land Records has the ability to put out an a set like this (even if there are only 3000 units available).

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Reliving moments from The X-Files or just enjoying a decent scare
Stay Away if: You’re just looking for a brief “best of” – this is much more than that and is priced accordingly

To purchase The X-Files Original Soundtrack Volume One, visit Amazon

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