Flashback Friday: Extremis

I love it when actors (especially actors from my favorite genre shows) wander into the realm of singing. Or sing/speaking. Agent Scully is not the first to do this. Nor is she the most impressive. That title would, of course, go to the inimitable William Shatner. Don’t believe me? You’ve obviously never heard him speak “Rocket Man.” All I have to say to that is, Why The Hell Not?

Anyway. So back in the late 90s, when I was both deeply entrenched in the nerdy wonder of The X-Files as well as falling further and further down that rabbit hole of the spurious, subversive downloading culture (yes, I was a very naughty wolf in those glorious underground geek days of late-night raiding of FTP sites with a 56K modem and a 6-pack of Mountain Dew), I came across a track on someone’s site, labeled “Gillian Anderson Quattro Extreme.”

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? Gillian Anderson, as in Dana Scully on a music track? Yes, please!

And so I downloaded the track. And fell in love. I would later learn that the version of this song that I first downloaded was slightly mislabeled and was, in fact, the Qattara remix of “Extremis,” a song by HaL that originally featured Ms. Anderson way more than the remix does. I love the remix a lot more than the original because it has that driving electronica beat that I love…the beat that has gotten me pulled over on more than one occasion for encouraging my lead foot to drop more precipitously than usual.

However, the link below is to the video for the original song. I had never seen the video until a few months ago. I don’t think it ever played on any mainstream video channels here in the States. Once you watch it, you’ll understand why. Agent Scully apparently had dreams of being a naughty wolf, too.

I’ve read a lot of criticisms of Anderson for this song as well as for the collection on which it was originally featured, Future: A Journey Through the Electronic Underground. This 2-disc set was compiled by Anderson to feature music and musicians that she was very much into at that point in her life. Agent Scully was into electronica? Who knew, right?

I think some of the criticisms are unfounded. I do believe that the original version of “Extremis” is one of the weaker offerings from this compilation, but still has its merits. Plus, I really dig Anderson’s exquisite speaking voice. I also think that her selections are holistically strong and representative of what was a great cross-section of the electronica scene at that point in time: Fluke, Massive Attack, The Future Sound of London, The Chemical Brothers, Brian Eno, William Orbit (who would help reignite Madonna’s career on Ray of Light, which I still think is going to be her pinnacle). These are names that I would encounter many more times as I made my way through similar compilations and soundtracks, but I heard them all first thanks to Agent Scully and her crazy underground sound.

Of course, take what I say about music with a grain of salt. I once bought a Marilyn Manson CD and Debbie Gibson’s greatest hits at the same time.

So, hope you enjoy. If you don’t like the music, I at least hope you enjoy this wonderfully bizarre video. If anything, you can see how many times you can catch sight of Anderson’s beauty mark to the left and slightly below her nose. Chris Carter always insisted that it be covered by make-up when she was in character. Apparently, FBI agents aren’t supposed to have beauty marks. Again, who knew?