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Saturday, June 13, 2009


Music by Mark Snow
BSX Records BSXCD 8853 (US)
13 Tracks 53:42 mins

Mark Snow has been a prolific composer in his time, predominantly in TV, whether it be for episodic television, like The X-Files, Millennium, Ghost Whisperer and Smallville, or for numerous stand-alone TV movies. 1996's Conundrum is one of the latter, a thriller, starring Michael Biehn (Terminator) and Marg Helgenberger (CSI). At the time of his scoring the film, Snow was of course still working on the X-Files and just beginning Millennium, so it is not surprising that some of the trademark synth layers are present in the more suspenseful moments of Conundrum, but there is much more on offer here, not least a love theme for piano, first presented in quite a poppy arrangement in the opening track, "Rose's Theme" but which, though romantic, turns out to be at the same time somewhat melancholy and joyless. Snow also makes use of airy, wordless female vocals (supplied by Cassandra Crossland), first heard in the "Main Title," and again associated with the Helgenberger character; and contrasting somewhat with the darker and more action-oriented moments of the score, which include flowing percussive elements, like the "recurring light percussion rapping heard beneath a lot of the textured synth figures and piano arpeggios" that Randall D. Larson in the detailed accompanying booklet notes is able to describe much better than I. Sampled flute sounds also add an exotic, Oriental quality to the score.
Many of the tracks are quite lengthy, which is quite unusual for TV, and give plenty of room for development.
The album ends on a satisfying note in "Rose's New Path/End Credits," with the love theme, returning in laid-back style, combining effectively with Ms Crossland's vocals.
This limited release, of just 1000 copies, can be ordered from and the label has also just released Snow's score for the 1986 feature Jake Speed, which I shall be reviewing for you in the next few days. With so much unavailable music by Mark Snow, both these releases are most welcome and deserve your support, in the hope that BSX can be persuaded to put out even more of the composer's work.


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