This is the second part to the official soundtrack to the most popular video game in recent history. Critics like to compare the style of my album to Erik Satie, Roedelius, and Brian Eno. Aphex Twin also once said I stole his style.
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”.
A bunch of the songs are VERY long.
“Alpha”, being 10 minutes, while “The End” clocks in at 15 minutes. And a lot of the “creative mode” songs are at least around 8 minutes in length.
Additionally, this soundtrack contains the collectible records, which are little vinyl songs you can find in Minecraft, the game. With the exception of Cat. That song you can find on the previous soundtrack, Volume Alpha.
“Ki,” like “Key,” on the previous album is an introduction to the album. But this time it’s not quiet, somber and welcoming, but dark and foreboding.
“Alpha” is a medley of past songs. It acts as the score that plays when you “beat” Minecraft, but it also acts as a celebration of past music from Volume Alpha.
“Blind Spots” is the first song I wrote with the clear intention of having a unique soundtrack for Minecraft’s “creative mode”. I tried to create a piece that doesn’t particularly change much, but keeps reiterating on itself, like a constant remixing of its core theme. As the piece ends, it becomes very melancholic and solemn, but quickly returns to being positive. Things end, but that’s not bad.
“Moog City 2” is a recreation of “Moog City” from Minecraft Alpha. However this time I actually did use Moog synthesisers, along a lot of other synths that I acquired over the course of making this album.
“Biome Fest” is a song that I created when Minecraft Alpha was done, but I felt it had no place anywhere in the game, until the creative mode was sort of reintroduced to the game. It’s one of my favourite songs I’ve ever created. I do love minimalism and achieving tones with just very few notes, and I think this song does that extremely well.
“Haunt Muskie”, if I remember correctly, an anagram for Hatsune Miku. Not entirely sure why anymore, but there you go. This song is very nostalgic for me, and I didn’t expect anyone to like it but just me. It turns out it is a little bit popular though. There was this fairly old video game I used to like. Some game where you solve puzzles of broken rollercoasters you have to fix. The music wasn’t particularly good, but the emotion it carried was something I always remembered. “Haunt Muskie” is what I remember that music to be.
“Warmth” plays in the game’s hell. Or as it is called in Minecraft, “Nether”. This song tries to play with the idea that even hell isn’t all bad, and there’s good things to be found. But it’s still a very harsh environment.
“Aria Math” is a song full of Pan Drums and old synthesisers rhythmically dancing to ping pong delays. It’s also one of the creative mode songs. I wrote it with the beauty of the more extreme creations in Minecraft. Gigantic statues, entire cities, paintings, people, all recreated in this game. It’s awe inspiring, and that’s what I wanted to kind of symbolise. Not sure if I succeeded?
“Taswell” is a farewell to a friend I only met for a little bit, but they passed away faster than anyone could have imagined. It was shocking, but I didn’t want to remember them for their death, but the happiness they showed every day of their life.
“Beginning 2” is just like “Beginning” on Alpha, perhaps the end to the album, or just the beginning. This album is now in the progress of changing tone rapidly, but not before going to “The End.”
“Dreiton” is a remembrance of the times when I wrote albums like Zweitonegoismus. When I was still scared to embrace minimalism and simplicity in music. When I was still keen on making my music as crazy and varied as possible. Turns out there was no reason to have such a fear. And with “Dreiton”, the are essentially only two sections on a song that clocks in at over 8 minutes. I hope I accomplished to have repetition that nonetheless isn’t boring in any way. Like all the other “creative mode” songs, this one is also about the awe of the creativity to be found in Minecraft. At minute 7, the song abruptly builds up to nothing and fades away. Sometimes creativity doesn’t need to have a reason. Sometimes you just build.
“The End” is a 15 minute piece for the namesake in Minecraft, a place called “The End”, a dark and sinister place full of creepy things called Endermen. Oh, and there’s a dragon. Since The End is also the final stage the player has to go to to “beat” the game, this piece contains a lot of references to past songs. If you listen closely, you can essentially hear most of Volume Alpha embedded within. After building up the drone, the song breaks, as if some sort of audio device couldn’t handle it anymore. Lastly you hear someone fixing it, and it starts from the beginning. At least in the game. On the album we then go to…
“Chirp”, which is where we switch to the records you can find in Minecraft as collectibles. Until we get to…
“Intro,” an improv piece to say goodbye. Or hello?
I released this album in late 2013 when I was about to be doing a gig in Mexico. Every time I think about this album, I get nostalgic about Mexico and how wildly different it is from the life I know from Germany or Canada. Though now that I think about it, I feel like Volume Alpha might be a love record to Europe, while Beta is dedicated to America and Asia. This might sound like gibberish to you, but to me it’s kind of a personal internalized opinion.
If you want to give it a listen, I embedded a little player on this page, for your convenience.