Minecraft - Volume Beta
|Studio album by|
November 9, 2013
LP, CD, digital download
Minecraft - Volume Beta is the second Minecraft soundtrack album by C418, the first being Minecraft - Volume Alpha. It was released on November 9, 2013 on Bandcamp and Apple Music, with a later release on Spotify.
The album includes 30 songs for a total length of about 140 minutes. It features many music tracks that were "silently" added to Minecraft in the Music Update a few days after the album's release, as well as the music discs that were missing from the first album (except for "11"). Similarly to Volume Alpha, Volume Beta includes short bonus tracks that are not in the game.
With a less minimalistic style, longer track lengths with more complex structures, and a much greater emphasis on lush, ambient synth sounds, the album has a noticeably darker and more dramatic tone than Volume Alpha, which C418 acknowledges on his website, saying:
"The big difference of Volume Beta is that the tone is both more positive and at times very dark. Some of the songs even have percussion, which is something that was a complete rarity with Volume Alpha. For example 'Taswell' or 'Aria Math'."
C418 considers Volume Beta to be "dedicated to America and Asia", while Volume Alpha "might be a love record to Europe". One can notice the Asian influence on tracks such as "Aria Math", "Biome Fest", "Dreiton", and "Flake".
The second official soundtrack of Minecraft. 140 minutes in length and extremely varied. Featuring the all-new creative mode, menu tunes, the horrors of the nether, the end's odd and misleading soothing ambiance and all the missing record discs from the game!
It's my longest album ever, and I hope you'll love the amount of work I crammed into it.
|No.||Title||Filename in Minecraft||Length||Track preview||Description||Notes|
|1.||"Ki"||—||1:32||This is a reprise (a similar but slightly different version) of "Key" from Minecraft - Volume Alpha (note that both have the same pronunciation). It starts off with an echoey version of "Key" but then adds new layers of electronic ambient music. The bass notes at 0:38 can also be heard in "Concrete Halls".|
|2.||"Alpha"||credits.ogg||10:03||This track is an emotional orchestral reprise of some tracks from Minecraft - Volume Alpha, including "Minecraft", "Mice on Venus", "Moog City", and "Sweden". It plays during the End Poem, after defeating the ender dragon. At times hopeful and energetic, and at other times sad and contemplative, the whole track has an intense feeling of nostalgia.||This is the first of two longer songs which are "Album Only" on the iTunes online store.|
|3.||"Dead Voxel"||nether2.ogg||4:56||The track begins with dark ambient sounds and distant, high-pitched synthesizers, similar to ones heard in "Ballad of the Cats", and later turns into a serene, but dramatic piano song with a fittingly warm ambient backing and an accompaniment of an oriental-sounding synth imitating a plucked instrument. The track is a less dissonant, more somber variant of "Concrete Halls", with softer percussion. The sound of lava flowing and bubbling can be heard in the background. At the end, part of "Beginning" can be heard.||This, along with "Concrete Halls" and "The End", is present in Legacy Console Edition as of TU9.|
|4.||"Blind Spots"||creative2.ogg||5:32||Starts off primarily featuring a major seven chord, and later introduces darker minor chords. The entire track is a piano song dominated by a repeated quarter note rhythm. The piano, which has an echo effect on it, plays a bright melody before it is joined by a synth orchestra, with some quiet synth percussion. At some points, there are chiptune-style synthesizers playing chords that support the main melody, and at other points, there is a distorted bell or chime sound (possibly a kalimba that plays arpeggiated chords. There is also a synth bass that plays arpeggiated chords throughout.|
|5.||"Flake"||—||2:50||This song starts with calm, echoing bells backed by a synth, and then a scratchy beat is introduced.||This track is used in the Legacy Console Edition Festive Mash-Up Pack.|
|6.||"Moog City 2"||menu2.ogg||3:00||A sequel to "Moog City" from Minecraft - Volume Alpha, with a grander scale and a more dramatic tone. C418 actually used a Moog synthesizer on this track, as opposed to the original.|
|7.||"Concrete Halls"||nether1.ogg||4:14||An ominous, rhythmic track that consists of dark, relatively dissonant piano chords supported by cold ambient synths, abrasive, heavily reverbed percussion, and distant ghast sounds.||This track, along with "Dead Voxel" and "The End", is present in Legacy Console Edition as of TU9.|
|8.||"Biome Fest"||creative1.ogg||6:18||This track begins with a dreamlike choir of synthesized voices fading in, which makes way to an electronic song with bells and tribal percussion in the background. It ends with the same choir that it begins with, fading out.||This track was previously used in a video by Notch to demonstrate biomes.|
|9.||"Mutation"||menu1.ogg||3:05||This track is a variation on "Minecraft" from Minecraft - Volume Alpha, played on a piano, with dramatic orchestral embellishments.||The name "Mutation" likely refers to how the track is a sort of evolution of "Minecraft". It might also refer to how much the game grew and evolved over time, which might have been the inspiration for the track.
|10.||"Haunt Muskie"||creative3.ogg||6:01||An upbeat, ambient, rhythmic track. It begins with the growing sound of echoing chimes and clarinets that quicken in pace. A reversed piano, accompanied by a synthesized accordion or similar instrument, begin to play up and down a scale, shortly before echoing and fading away, after which the main portion of the song starts. In some parts of the track, there is a whirlwind of synthesized sounds. A heavily reverbed synthesized saxophone can be heard in the background throughout most of the piece. The piece concludes with an unexpectedly dissonant piano chord.||The title is an anagram of the virtual singing character, Hatsune Miku.|
|11.||"Warmth"||nether3.ogg||3:59||The song starts with loud, hollow sounds of something banging on a metallic object, which fades into soft, warm, bubbly-sounding synthesizer music, with an organ playing chords and some ambient clicking sounds in the background. Near the end, the music turns back into banging sounds, but louder and less muted. At the end are sounds of a large amount of a water-like liquid flowing.||The four-note musical phrase in the background is also featured in "Wait".|
|12.||"Floating Trees"||menu4.ogg||4:04||A warm, ethereal, and calming ambient track mostly played on an organ, accompanied by bright synths and backed by low strings. There are some very quiet chiming sounds in the background near the end. It is written in the same key as "Minecraft". The ending, which is softly played on a distant, echoing piano, is a callback to the ending melody of "Subwoofer Lullaby" from Minecraft - Volume Alpha.||The title may be a reference to the well-known annoyance of leaving a tree only partially chopped down, thus leaving it “floating”.|
|13.||"Aria Math"||creative4.ogg||5:10||The track begins with a main theme played on heavily echoed pan drums, and this pan drum melody continues throughout the song with electronic music to accompany it. Later, the main theme is played on an oriental plucked string instrument, accompanied by a crescendo of orchestral strings and synths near the end.||Aria is a music term for a song of air.|
|14.||"Kyoto"||—||4:09||A downtempo song in two main parts. The first part features a piano playing a bassline, with a melody and countermelody played by a saxophone and a flute, respectively. The second part features synthesized strings and a celesta.||Kyoto is a Japanese city and was formerly the imperial capital of Japan.
This track was also used in the festive mash-up pack for the console edition.
|15.||"Ballad of the Cats"||nether4.ogg||4:35||A very heavy piece with a low-pitched piano part that keeps the pulse throughout, blended with dire-sounding string chords and occasional synthesizers. The track begins with a period of techno-sounding music and then a break. Later, there is a second period of peaceful music and then a techno-style ending. Near the beginning and end are distant, echoing ghast sounds.|
|16.||"Taswell"||creative6.ogg||8:35||It starts off as a track of echoing, ethereal music and high-pitched beeping with odd static-like periods in between. After some percussive ticking noises and a brief interlude of echoing vinyl static and chirping noises, it suddenly becomes an upbeat, catchy song, with a high-pitched piano accompanied by a reverbed synth and steady, soft synth drum beats. A flute joins in, as well as additional layers of percussion and a synth choir that sings a sliding melody and intensifies in sound as the song continues. Later, the track expands into a more intricately layered, electronic track, consisting of many layers of electronic textures that fluidly move about. It starts playing quieter static-like periods at the end. Strange, almost organic-sounding electronic chirping noises can be heard throughout the track, as well as quiet reversed chimes. The track ends with the synth choir echoing away as a wooshing synth static sound winds down and a muffled organ arpeggio loops and fades out.||This track's title is a reference to the late Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb.|
|17.||"Beginning 2"||menu3.ogg||2:56||This track is a sequel to "Beginning" from Minecraft - Volume Alpha. It is a serene variation of "Minecraft" played by synths and a piano, with a choir singing in the background.|
|18.||"Dreiton"||creative5.ogg||8:17||An ambient track that opens with distant, chiptune-style synthesizers playing a simple rhythm and makes use of pan drums as an accompaniment. Some parts have more of a focus on the pan drums for the melody and sound very similar to "Aria Math". The track has a slow rhythm that slowly increases in volume and then suddenly quiets down again, slowly crescendoing with brass and strings until dramatically quieting into a guitar piece.||"Dreiton" is German for "three tone" and may be a reference to C418's earlier album,zweitonegoismus ("two tone egoism"), which itself may be a reference to an even earlier album, Sine (description: eins- "one" in German.)
|19.||"The End"||end.ogg||15:04||The track opens with vinyl static and the beginning part of the track "Minecraft", which slowly becomes more and more distorted and reverbed until it is barely recognizable. After it suddenly succumbs to excessive bitcrushing and glitching, it echoes out, and a low-pitched drone starts and grows slowly, eventually gaining a harmony of choir voices as the track becomes a very dark ambient piece with an ominous air of desolation and hopelessness.
Throughout the track, extremely distorted and/or remixed versions of parts of the tracks "Cat", "Haggstrom", "Dry Hands", "Wet Hands", "Subwoofer Lullaby", "Oxygène", "Danny", "Clark", "Equinoxe", and "Beginning" from Minecraft - Volume Alpha can be heard, as well as "Floating Trees" from Minecraft - Volume Beta, as ambient noises play in the background and build in intensity. The track slowly increases in volume as new layers of sounds fade in until it becomes much louder.
At the climax of this piece, a pulsing, one-note ostinato suddenly appears from the drone and is overlaid with a half-tempo rendition of the song "Sweden", which greatly increases in volume until the melody is overtaken by the choir and it abruptly stops with a motif from "Subwoofer Lullaby" and echoes out.
After a period of relative silence, the drone and ambience reappears, accompanied by soft, echoing chimes layered with reversed chimes, and then a sudden static hum brings in some very slowed down samples from "Minecraft".
The drone slowly fades away as an ambient wind sound comes in waves, and this wind sound continues for some time.
Then, the drone and ostinato quietly return for a very short time before another static hum interrupts the track and there is total silence, except for vinyl static.
A stuttered loop of a small portion of "Minecraft" begins, once again underneath a layer of vinyl static. Someone apparently stops the track by pushing a button on a turntable, and nothing but vinyl static can be heard for the remaining few seconds.
|This is the second of two longer songs which are "Album Only" on the iTunes online store. The track was already present in Console Edition as of TU9, along with "Dead Voxel" and "Concrete Halls".|
|20.||"Chirp"||chirp.ogg||3:07||A retro tune with a sample from a 1970 MATTEL Program Disc: Bossa Nova Style playing in the background, along with a vaporwave-like version of Mall.||From this track until Far (track 29) are all music discs available in the game (before Pigstep was added) excluding "Cat" and "Thirteen", and with the exception of "Eleven" being an exclusive music track. Second part is "Mall".|
|21.||"Wait"||wait.ogg||3:54||An upbeat remix of "Minecraft".||This track was originally titled "Where are we now" (likely because the phrase rhythmically fits the 4-note melodic pattern that is present throughout the song), and for a long time, it was in the record folder in the game's files, but it wasn't added as a music disc due to issues with the spaces in its name. This was finally rectified by renaming it and it was added as a music disc in Java Edition 1.4.3. In Legacy Console Edition, the title "where are we now" is used.|
|22.||"Mellohi"||mellohi.ogg||1:38||A slow, slightly melancholic waltz with a sample from a mellotron playing in the background.|
|23.||"Stal"||stal.ogg||2:32||A moderate jazz-like piece played on a piano, saxophone, and double bass, with recorder interludes.|
|24.||"Strad"||strad.ogg||3:08||A tropical-sounding piece with the main melody being played on a steelpan, accompanied by a layered mix of strings, woodwinds, and soft synths, and supported by a glitchy electronic tribal percussion beat, ending on some melancholy melodica chords. Bits and pieces of the melody from "Minecraft" can be heard throughout, sometimes played on bells in the background.|
|25.||"Eleven"||—||1:11||The record static from the start of the music disc "11" can be heard, but is abruptly interrupted by a record scratching sound and the track switches to a new, slow, calm piano piece.||This track references the music disc "11" in its name, length, and vinyl static intro, but features an entirely new track instead of the familiar, disturbing sounds of what sounds like a person running away from some unknown creature.
It's likely that this was meant to be a bait-and-switch by C418, considering that it at first appears to be "11" due to its name, song length, and its inclusion on the same album as all the other music discs, and that it even begins the same way, but then immediately turns out to be something completely different.
It's possible that C418 chose not to include the original track in order to add to its mystery and possibly its obscurity, or because a sudden interlude of non-musical sound effects would have interrupted the flow of the album.
|26.||"Ward"||ward.ogg||4:10||The record starts off with an excerpt from Chopin's Funeral March played on a synth organ, but it is interrupted by vinyl static and switches to an electronic, upbeat, exploration and adventure tune with a dark undertone.||The old-sounding intro to this song is shortened in Minecraft - Volume Beta, compared to the in-game music disc version.|
|27.||"Mall"||mall.ogg||3:18||A calm, underwater-like piece of serene music.||The repeating 3 notes at the beginning of this track are also in "Living Mice" from Volume Alpha, as a part of the main melody.|
|28.||"Blocks"||blocks.ogg||5:43||An upbeat, catchy tune with a shuffling rhythm.|
|29.||"Far"||far.ogg||3:12||A calm, relaxing, nature-like synth melody.|
|30.||"Intro"||—||4:36||This track is an improv piece consisting of C418 himself humming and playing notes on a piano. Strings, along with echoing synthesized sounds and other recordings of his voice, fade in afterwards, until the song ends.||On Bandcamp, there is a description for this song that says: "See you next time".|
- Only 2 tracks on this album feature descriptions of some kind; the first being "Biome Fest", which has a link to a video called "Minecraft Biome Test" that was on Notch's YouTube channel, Nizzotch, but has since been deleted (this is the original link, this is a reupload), and "Intro", with the description "See you next time", which is fitting as it is the last song on the album.
- This is different from Volume Alpha, as every song on that album had a description or joke of some kind. It may be that this unexpected "silence" is an intentional way to emphasize this album's much darker tone.
- The album cover is a dark, more surreal, and heavily stylized version of the same grass block from the album cover of Volume Alpha, which is likely meant to reflect the darker, more surreal style of Volume Beta in comparison to its predecessor.
- A very possible reason why "Ballad of the Cats" has that title is because the sounds of ghasts are distorted recordings of C418's cat.
- The music disc tracks are in stereo, as opposed to their in-game versions, which are in mono. It is likely that the in-game versions are in mono so as to make it seem as if the sound is coming from one single source (a jukebox) instead of from all around the listener.
- It is equally possible that either the stereo versions or the mono versions of the music disc tracks were created first. The soundtrack versions are either the original tracks from before they were mixed down to mono for the game, or remasters of the original mono tracks that intended to provide a more "complete" listening experience outside of the game. Which version came first could also vary from track to track.
- Lena Raine
- Music Disc
- The article on C418's wiki
- "Minecraft - Volume Beta" – Bandcamp.
- "Minecraft Biome Test"– (Archive) Nizzotch on YouTube, October 27, 2010
- "Minecraft Volume Beta" – C418's Website.
- Frédéric Chopin - Piano Sonata No.2 - III Marche Funèbre