Mark Snow

" If you're looking for some of TV's finest modern scoring, done with emotion and heart, this is a 2CD set for you. "

Written by Justin Boggan - Review of the limited release

It's hard to describe the music of MillenniuM. Dark, somber, emotionally bleak, foreboding, but then you'll get tracks that are kind of upbeat or even on the lighter side too. It uses the same style and sound Snow became famous for in The X-Files (though this style appeared before that show, like on the pilot to "Dark Skies" [he did not do any episodes for that show apart from the pilot, released by Perseverance Records]).

Synth strings, hard drum echo hits, solo violin (and solo cello, featured many times throughout), piano, light bells, harp, female vocals (some rare male ones, too) -- the music was made for a dark Halloween night, or an overcast November day. It's a moody work, but with recurring themes and musical stylings. It's not just "there", because Snow tries his best to make them emotionally expressive and investing. Seriously, turn off the lights, kill the cellphone (okay, maybe just kill it anyway), sit in a chair or lie down and just let the music carry you away. Some people don't like the synth approach, but it melds together perfectly.

This set also includes, opening CD 2, an extended version of the main title (which had been leaked years before and was also on the Season 1 score promo. Sometimes fans get extended versions of short TV themes they always loved, but this extended one fails. Superman: The New Adventures of Lois & Clark pretty much reprised everything exactly the same, then had some terrible saxophone in the middle; "E.R", another extended theme that was doing nicely, went into unnecessary and distracting saxophone. And just to mention it; The X-Files extended theme (on the Truth and the Light CD) did just the same over and over again for a few minutes. Breaking this pattern, the extended MillenniuM theme treads new performance territory with the theme, variations on the theme, and becomes quite easily a strong and coherent piece from beginning to end (with no inappropriate saxophone in the middle, or anywhere else for that matter).

A number of cues, or parts of cues, are marked with an asterix, with the key notes as the cue being composed by Jeff Charbonneau. Charbonneau has been Snow's music editor for a long while, contributing additional score (uncredited) to this show, and "The X-Files" since the pilot (in fact, two cues on The Truth and the Light CD are credited to him). His work here is equally impressive (a good choice of working partner, if you ask me).

Of note, only some of the cues from the season 1 score promo are on this set, so don't toss the promo away if you have it. I can't speak of the iTunes-only "Best of MillenniuM" download release though.

The show centers around (like "The X-Files") an F.B.I. criminal profiler, this time an older one called Frank Black (the talented and underused in GOOD projects, Lance Henriksen) who has disturbing visions of serial killers and violent acts, while tracking down serial killers and the ilk, yet still trying to maintain his sanity and his marriage, which all eventually fail (well, not his sanity). Things get complicated when Frank gets entangled in a real life organization (drastically dramatized with many liberties taken) called The Millennium Group -- who foretell of the world ending in 2000, and hunt down artefacts, occasionally even murdering people to make Frank's life even more dangerous.

The show opened with a dark, promising first season, lead into a lesser quality second season, but fell apart in season three (change in leaders and writers) and ultimately it got canned. A show like this today would be scored with synth drones and aimless, theme-less meandering, but Snow put heart and emotion into his work, and used the main theme multiple times, while creating secondary themes as well. This is an example of good modern television scoring.

Stand out tracks are many and include -- for CD 1: "Main Title A", which fans of the series will note as the season 3 opening theme; "Big Yellow House"* and the sadness; "Mourners / Dragged In" with it's optimistic light feel and tiny bells (much more akin to sad moments from "The X-Files"); "Lock Part Two" with it's sort of folksy feel on the theme heard in the previous cue on the CD; "Death Prayer" with the guitar, piano playing in one the shows brighter musical moments the theme from the series in a melodic way, then transitioning into a modern Snow take on a western feel; "Crushed Dove" and the paced rhythm and 80's sort of power anthem display of a secondary theme; "Henry Penny" with the somewhat uneasy piano theme with little bells, and somewhat dissonant backing -- it leaves you feeling generally uneasy, like a fairy tale gone bad (the theme is repeated in the next track as well); "Comatose / Origins / Woods" featuring a sort of male/female church like singing, then some evil faux jungle-like music and "The Writer" with it's ridiculously catchy theme played on quick piano notes with a shaker instrument sort of mimicking a type writer.

This is the kind of music a show like for example "Psych" would have had, but failed to get; "Goopy" and the dreamy synth marimba-like melody playing in the background, and pretty sounding synth scape, almost something like Ray Lynch achieved in "The Oh of Pleassure" instrumental work, but picking up in a light-hearted '80's sort of feel (fans of Conti's light '80's synth work might appreciate this). Of course the "End Title" mustn't be forgotten in this list.

Stand-out tracks from CD 2 are: "Main Title -- Long Version", for obvious reasons explained earlier in the review; "Trial" and its somber tone; "Alarm" with the tense opening trembling strings, leading into the playful theme on organ(?) for the devils having coffee late at night in a small café; similarly, "Sympathy For The..." which reprises the devils' theme, but also opening on a sad note; "The Peter Principle" and the soft piano and synth strings which about half-way in leads to X-Files percussion based suspense-type music; "Silence Is Golden", reprising a theme heard earlier in the cue "Henry Penny" (and heard in a couple more cues on the set later on); "Candy", mainly because it contains many of the standard scoring style approaches Snow used throughout the series; "Drilling", for the bittersweet ending piano music which occurs after the half-way mark, that leads the series to a conclusion with beautiful skies and Frank Black's car driving away with his daughter; and a different take on the "End Title" piece.

Overall, if you're looking for some of modern TV's finest scoring, done with emotion and heart with themes, this is a 2CD set for you. If you're persnickety about synths, then you're cheating yourself out of some goodness. This 2CD set is limited to 2,000 copies, and as of the time I write this, there are supposedly well under 1,000 copies left, so if you've not purchased this yet ... the time is NOW.


Cd 1: 74.27
1. Main Title A (0.53)
2. Big Yellow House * (1.56)
3. Rain (3.30)
4. Exterminated (4.53)
5. Mourners * / Dragged In (3.24)
6. Lock (2.45)
7. Lock Part Two (0.57)
8. Death Prayer * (3.32)
9. Chernobyl * (4.00)
10. Yaponchik (1.00)
11. Myth No More / Antichrist (5.07)
12. Saviour (7.49)
13. Crushed Dove (1.53)
14. Headlights * (2.53)
15. Check / Get It Back Again (1.39)
16. Henny Penny * (1.53)
17. M-Files * / Litle Pigs (5.00)
18. Jack O' Lantern (1.20)
19. Battery (2.04)
20. Acts (1.48)
21. 790 Days (4.03)
22. Comatose * / Origins / Woods (1.22)
23. The Writer (2.53)
24. Goopy (Alt) (5.37)
25. Final Chapter (1.42)
26. End Title (0.33)

Cd 2: 74.20
1. Main Title - Long Version (3.32)
2. Delete * (1.39)
3. Branches / Angels (4.52)
4. Damascus (4.36)
5. The Subject (3.41)
6. Aerotech (1.34)
7. Trail (1.14)
8. Alarm (1.51)
9. X-Fyles (2.08)
10. Sympathy for the... (2.20)
11. Hot Birds (1.33)
12. The Peter Principle (0.07)
13. Catherine (2.33)
14. Silence is Golden (3.16)
15. Candy (7.30)
16. Santos Elves * (3.51)
17. Unwrapped Gift (2.48)
18. Love Jordan / Hobbit House (2.20)
19. The Way it Was (3.55)
20. Shrapnel * (3.54)
21. Channel 14 (4.15)
22. Locked Out (1.21)
23. Drilling (4.56)
24. End Title (0.37)

Bonus Track
25. Main Title - Vocal Remix (0.50)

*Contains Music By Jeff Charbonneau
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 17 votes - average 4.18/5)

Released by

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1083 (limited release 2008)