Thursday, October 10, 2013

Soundtrack Suggestion: Millennium Limited Edition OST - Mark Snow [1 of 2]


Millennium TV Limited Edition (2CD)
by Mark Snow
Part One of Two

This is part one of the Soundtrack Suggestion and review of Millennium Limited Edition soundtrack.  I'm a huge fan of this show.  I loved this show far more than X-Files and other similar shows.  There was something about the slow burn approach to narrative which this show excelled in which really sparked my interest.  Wonderfully, the soundtrack is just as awesome.

The soundtrack is composed of 51 tracks, split to two Discs (Disc one has 51 tracks and Disc two has 50) and runs a total of 148 :47 minutes.  I can't help but wonder if the guys behind the soundtrack snuck in some undiscovered Easter Egg given that duration is split to 74:27 and 74:20 minutes respectively.  Seems too much of a coincidence if you ask me.

This is the first of two Soundtrack Suggestion posts.  Given the size of the album, I will need to break the review into two parts.

Fans of the show will be delighted to hear the show's main theme in this soundtrack.  Main Title (Disc 01, Track 01) gives us the fifty-two second version which was used to open the show.  Main Title (Disc 02, Track 02) gives us the 3:33 minute long synth version which I suspect was Mark Snow's initial version of the track.  Main Title - Vocal Remix (Disc 02, Track 25) is clearly the crew having fun as they vocally (and explicitly) describe the show using the opening theme.  It was a cute addition, admittedly.  I admit I liked the short version more than the full version.

The first three songs are from the Pilot of the show.
Big Yellow House (Disc 01, Track 02) is almost two minutes of hopeful sad music.  Rain (Disc 01, Track 03)  and Exterminated (Disc 01, Track 04) continue the heavy mood the show is pretty much known for.

Blood Relatives
Mourners/Dragged In (Disc 01, Track 05) has a nursery rhyme feel of innocence to it, but one which never feels absolutely safe.  There's always a hint of danger lurking in the shadows.

The Well Worn Lock
Lock (Disc 01, Track 06) and Lock, Part Two (Disc 01, Track 07) have an almost uplifting feel to the tunes.  But while the synths are more pronounced in Lock, the music takes a more traditional string approach in Part Two, and gives the listener a sense of safety and security.

The Wild and the Innocent
Death Prayer (Disc 01, Track 08) sounds almost uplifting and religious, which seems a contrast given the show until you realize how much of the show was shrouded by religious cult activity.  The song hits a high mark at 1:50 and slips into a faster beat suggesting a more progressive direction in the narrative.

Marantha
Chernobyl (Disc 01, Track 09) opens with heavy tunes and an almost oppressive presence that builds to a tense march.   Yaponchik (Disc 01, Track 10) kicks things up a notch with a heart-pounding action beat accompanied by chanting voices.  Myth No More-Antichrist (Disc 01, Track 11) swirls back down to a heavy feeling of failure.  Savior (Disc 01, Track 12) moves from dark and heavy into a scream of voices that abruptly cuts on the 5:30 mark and shifts back to a thematic touch.

Paper Dove
Crushed Dove (Disc 01, Track 13) has an almost easy-going feel to its beat.  Keen eared listeners who are fans of the show will realize the track re-purposes the main theme.

The Beginning and the End
Headlights (Disc 01, Track 14) has an almost ethereal quality to the tunes, but twists this to a disturbing medley come the two minute mark.  Check/Get it Back Again (Disc 01, Track 15) once again re-purposes the main theme and throws in an almost uplifting feel.  The track works well as a "recover and regain strength" type of track.

Monster
Henny Penny (Disc 01, Track 16) once again embraces the harmonic touches of a nursery rhyme and even uses the dizzying touch of a xylophone for great disturbing effect.  M-Files/Little Pigs (Disc 01, Track 17) is more introspective and quiet, with sweeping tunes and soft circles.  But at the latter part, switches back to the disturbing tunes started by Henny Penny.

The Curse of Frank Black
Jack O' Lantern (Disc 01, Track 18) is a damn good track, especially for fans of the show.  This episode was the ground breaking one which explored more about what Frank might be going through without realizing it.  And as far as soundtracks go, the themes here are almost old-school horror approaches with blending harmonies and voices.   Battery (Disc 01, Track 19) explores this approach even more with an almost Tim Burton-esque approach to the tunes.  A lone descent of musical notes marks this piece before slipping back into familiar horror tropes (including the sudden hit for a shock moment).  Acts (Disc 01, Track 20) opens with the screeching horror sound we've grown accustomed to, but then shifts to an almost music box touch that reminds us that perhaps not all things to be feared are horrifying.  The wind instruments wonderfully wrap around the harmonies and remind us that the fear can be faced.  And finally, at 790 Days (Disc 01, Track 21) we once more dive into the uncertainty of horror and the ever disturbing xylophone touches.  But this time, the track ends with a dive back to familiarity sort of like how horror shows would close with a voice over back during the 70s.

The Hand of Saint Sebastian
Comatose/Origins/Woods (Disc 01, Track 22) definitely embraces the religious topics the show explored with vocal chanting, chimes and incessant percussion but the track however comes to an all too abrupt end.

Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense 
The Writer (Disc 01, Track 23) opens with an almost jazzy beat.  The piano dances around with enthusiam and fun.   Goopy (Disc 01, Track 24)  opens the next track with an almost zen like quality with chimes and metallic feedback sprinkled generously around the track.      Final Chapter (Disc 01, Track 25) sounds somber and heavy and re-explores The Writer with a slower and heavier touch.     And finally, End Title  (Disc 01, Track 26) returns the show's key theme to the forefront.

Millennium OST track suggestions:
WTF moment: Main Title - Vocal Remix (Disc 02, Track 25), Savior (Disc 01, Track 12), Henny Penny (Disc 01, Track 16), M-Files/Little Pigs (Disc 01, Track 17), Comatose/Origins/Woods (Disc 01, Track 22), The Writer (Disc 01, Track 23)              
Introspective/calm moment: Lock (Disc 01, Track 06), Lock, Part Two (Disc 01, Track 07) , Death Prayer (Disc 01, Track 08), Crushed Dove (Disc 01, Track 13), Headlights (Disc 01, Track 14), Goopy (Disc 01, Track 24)    
Tense/mystery moment: Mourners/Dragged in (Disc 01, Track 05) , Chernobyl (Disc 01, Track 09), Jack O' Lantern (Disc 01, Track 18), Battery (Disc 01, Track 19)         
Combat music: Yaponchik (Disc 01, Track 10)
Hopeful moment:  Main Title (Disc 01, Track 01) ,  Main Title (Disc 02, Track 02), Check/Get it Back Again (Disc 01, Track 15), Acts (Disc 01, Track 20)     
Drama/sad moment: Big Yellow House (Disc 01, Track 02),   Rain (Disc 01, Track 03), Exterminated (Disc 01, Track 04), Myth No More-AntiChrist (Disc 01, Track 11), 790 Days  (Disc 01, Track 21), End Title  (Disc 01, Track 26)    


Best Used In: Modern horror and dark tales of cruelty, corruption and evil.  Games like Call of Cthulhu, Night's Black Agents, or even Monster of the Week would benefit from this soundtrack.    As would magic realism games such as Changeling the Lost, Shadowrun and perhaps even Kult.
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