Portal 2 soundtrack

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Cover art for Portal 2 Soundtrack: Songs to Test By, as given with downloadable soundtrack, featuring concept art of Chell facing GLaDOS, with the bird flying on the right of GLaDOS' head.

The Portal 2 soundtrack was composed by Mike Morasky (credited in the soundtracks as "Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory"), with the exception of the songs "Want You Gone" composed by Jonathan Coulton, "Offering," composed by Larry Stephens, an arrangement of Little Prelude in C minor, BWV 934 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and "Exile Vilify," composed by The National.

While the music can be found in the game files, most tracks are unmixed and can only be fully experienced in-game, as most of the time the testing elements provide additional musical tones. The soundtrack is largely electronic and differs from the quiet ambient music used in the Portal soundtrack in that it is often upbeat.

On September 24, 2014, the soundtrack was made available on Steam as a free DLC to all owners of the game, under the name Portal 2: Songs to Test By.

Contents

[edit] Volume 1

On May 25th, 2011 on the official Portal 2 blog, the first volume out of three of the complete soundtrack titled Portal 2 Soundtrack: Songs to Test By and featuring the fully mixed tracks was released for free on MP3, alongside ringtone versions for the Android and the iPhone. The soundtrack is marketed as "aural stimulus" developed by Aperture Science on the blog; in the MP3s, Morasky is credited as "Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory."[1] Below are sections outlining the tracks from this volume.

[edit] "Science is Fun"

An up-beat, techno-esque song.

Location played: Played during the Portal 2 TV Spot and other trailers. During the PotatoFoolsDay ARG, a full version was released with the game 'BIT.TRIP BEAT'.

Comments: Some tunes of the song are played when the player gains high speed using Propulsion Gel.

[edit] "Concentration Enhancing Menu Initialiser"

A heavily remixed version of "There She Is" and "999999".

Location played: In the PlayStation 3 menu selection when highlighting Portal 2.

[edit] "999999"

A dark and mysterious chimes-and-electronics piece that builds with intensity.

Location played: Played from the beginning on the first main menu screen. Played from a middle intense part near the end of The Escape when approaching the Central AI Chamber.

Comments: The title refers to the Announcer's attempt at the beginning of The Courtesy Call to inform Chell of the length of time she has been in suspension for, which due to the high length of time or a malfunction, comes out as "nine nine nine... nine nine ni-."

[edit] "The Courtesy Call"

A story-driven piece that starts slow, then jumps into action as the song progresses. The second half has influences from "999999" and "Reconstructing Science".

Location played: Played when woken by Wheatley in the Aperture Science Extended Relaxation Center and throughout the container ride.

Comments: The title refers to the name of the first chapter.

[edit] "Technical Difficulties"

A subdued, mysterious, orchestral song.

Location played: During parts of the Announcer-supervised testing chambers.

Comments: The title refers either to the television in the Extended Relaxation Vault, which says "We are currently experiencing technical difficulties." during the container ride, or to a line spoken by the Announcer, "We are currently experiencing technical difficulties due to circumstances of potentially apocalyptic significance beyond our control."

[edit] "Overgrowth"

A quiet, eerie piece with light chimes.

Location played: Plays in the ruined Chamber 01.

[edit] "Ghost of Rattman"

A subdued choir-and-electronics piece overlaid with an indistinguishable voice track.

Location played: In the Rattmann Dens of Portal 2.

Comments: The strange voices heard in this track are presumed to be from Doug Rattmann. (However, it is unknown if he was dead or alive at the time.)

[edit] "Haunted Panels"

Another mysterious, subdued orchestral piece.

Location played: Plays in the ruined Chamber 05.

[edit] "The Future Starts With You"

An eerie song.

Location played: The second fling introductory chamber.

Comments: The name of this song refers to the Announcer line right at the beginning of the chamber, "Testing is the future, and the future starts with you." The songs seems to have a element from Technical Difficulties.

[edit] "There She Is"

N/A

Location played: Played when nearing and walking through Central AI Chamber for the first time.

Comments: The title refers to the player's first glimpse of GLaDOS in Portal 2, where Wheatley says "There she is..."

[edit] "You Know Her?"

N/A

Location played: Played when waking GLaDOS and climbing through the Incinerator Room.

Comments: The title refers to Wheatley's comment as GLaDOS recognizes Chell, where he asks "You KNOW her?" The end of the song seems to resemble part of the music played whilst fighting Wheatley.

[edit] "The Friendly Faith Plate"

An arrangement of the Aerial Faith Plate music.

Location played: Portions are heard when flying through the air via an Aperture Science Aerial Faith Plate.

[edit] "15 Acres of Broken Glass"

N/A

Location played: Test Chamber 06 in Chapter 2

Comments: The title is a reference to GLaDOS' line regarding the cleanup of the facility: "*I* have to go to the wing that was made entirely of glass and pick up fifteen acres of broken glass. *By myself*."

[edit] "Love as a Construct"

Contains the Companion Cube singing Cara Mia.

Location played: Test Chamber 07 in Chapter 2.

[edit] "I Saw a Deer Today"

An electric popping-clicking piece. Reminiscent of "4000 Degrees Kelvin" from the Portal soundtrack.

Location played: Portions are heard while engaging laser locks and ricocheting off of Aperture Science Aerial Faith Plates in Test Chamber 10 of Chapter 2.

Comments: The title refers to a line where GLaDOS asserts, "It's a beautiful day out. Yesterday I saw a deer."

  • Oddly, the only time GLaDOS refers to the deer and the day, she states "Well, you passed the test. I didn't see the deer today." which contradicts the title.

[edit] "Hard Sunshine"

Contains hints of the Turret Opera.

Location played: Plays when crouched on a Hard Light Bridge.

Comments: The title is a reference to the Hard Light Bridge, which GLaDOS claims is made of natural light (Example: sunshine), thus "hard sunshine."

[edit] "I'm Different"

N/A

Location played: Portions are played when carrying or knocking over turrets in Test Chamber 13 in Chapter 3.

Comments: The title of this track is a reference to the Oracle Turret found on the Turret Redemption Line, which says "I'm different..." upon being approached. The song seems to take some of its melody from "An Accent Beyond".

[edit] "Adrenal Vapor"

A warbling song produced while engaging laser locks in one of the Test Chambers.

Location played: Test Chamber 14 in Chapter 3, where GLaDOS mentions adrenal vapor, hence the name.

Comments: The title refers to GLaDOS' statement just before entering the Test Chamber, "I simulate daylight at all hours and add adrenal vapor to your oxygen supply."

  • The track is produced by generating two identical, repeating sequences of notes, one of which has a slightly faster tempo than the other. As the sequences go out of phase, human listeners perceive a transition and echoing effect and then a radical alteration of the original song, even though the notes remain identical throughout. This is a highly "experimental" style first pioneered by minimalist artists in the 1960s.

[edit] "Turret Wife Serenade"

A song performed by the Turret Quartet under the Rattmann Den.

Location played: Easter Egg in GLaDOS' Test Chamber 16.

[edit] "I Made It All Up"

A quiet, warbling electronics song.

Location played: In Chapter 4, "The Surprise," while engaging the laser locks in Test Chamber 18.

A scaled-down version plays when the laser-activated platform is moving in the fourth chamber of Chapter 2.

Comments: This refers to GLaDOS's line after revealing that her first "surprise" is the complete absence of one: "I made it all up". The song seems to have the same instrument from Self Esteem Fund from the Portal Soundtrack.

[edit] "Comedy = Tragedy + Time"

A mixture of beats and electronic noises

Location played: Played during GLaDOS' Test Chamber 19.

Comments: The title refers to GLaDOS' statement, "Well, you know the old formula: Comedy equals tragedy plus time."

[edit] "Triple Laser Phase"

A plaintive song that fades between tones.

Location played: GLaDOS' Test Chamber 20, when two or more Thermal Discouragement Beam catchers are enabled.

[edit] Volume 2

On July 1st, 2011 on the official Portal 2 blog, the second volume out of three of the complete soundtrack titled Portal 2 Soundtrack: Songs to Test By and featuring the fully mixed tracks was released for free.

[edit] "You Will Be Perfect"

A fast tempo electronic song with a recognizable theme.

Location played: Played in the "Cooperative Testing Initiative" and "Perfect 10" trailers.

Comments: The middle part of the track shows influences from "Reconstructing Science".

[edit] "Halls of Science 4"

A series of electronic beeps put together into a melody.

Location played: Played at the beginning of the Portal 2 TV Spot.

[edit] "Bots Build Bots"

A soothing song with harp and winds, gradually turning into a complex electronic song, with the melody still present, eventually ending how it starts.

Location played: The second main menu screen, which displays a conveyor belt inside the Turret Factory.

Comments: Although listed as "Bots Build Bots" on the website and in filename, the song's title is listed as "(defun botsbuildbots () (botsbuildbots))". This is a program written in LISP that defines a function that recursively (and endlessly) calls itself; effectively, an infinitely continuous loop. LISP is a programming language that has been heavily used in AI research since being developed in 1958.

[edit] "An Accent Beyond"

An up-tempo song with a repeating electronic melody.

Location played: Plays during the escape after GLaDOS Test Chamber 21.

Comments: The title is a reference to Wheatley's claim that he is "speaking in an accent that is beyond her range of hearing".

[edit] "Robot Ghost Story"

A slow, quiet electronic song with haunting melodies.

Location played: Plays when Wheatley tells the story about the replicas.

[edit] "Die Cut Laser Dance"

Choppy electronic noises, with fun dance melody in the background.

Location played: Plays while on the conveyor moving large pieces of metal to be cut and later constructed into turrets.

Comments: Contains speed-up segments of "Bots Build Bots".

[edit] "Turret Redemption Line"

N/A

Location played: Plays on the Turret Redemption Line.

Comments: The track seems to have influences from "I AM NOT A MORON!" and "You Know Her?" later in the volume.

[edit] "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day"

N/A

Location played: Plays whilst looking at the science projects produced by the employee daughters.

[edit] "Almost at Fifty Percent"

The song uses an alarm-like sound that plays throughout the song, near the ending the song runs into a action-like drum and synthesizer, then ends with a wind-like noise.

Location played: Plays in the Neurotoxin Generator chamber.

Comments: The title refers to Wheatley mistakenly believing the neurotoxin levels went up to 50%, although like "I Saw A Deer Today" the title itself is not actually said during the game.

[edit] "Don’t Do It"

N/A

Location played: When arriving in GLaDOS' rebuilt Central AI Chamber and during the subsequent stalemate resolution.

Comments: The song title is a reference to GLaDOS' repeated request when Chell is presented with the stalemate resolution button. The track sounds very similar to the track "You Know Her?".

[edit] "I AM NOT A MORON!"

N/A

Location played: Wheatley's takeover after the stalemate button is pressed.

Comments: The song title is a reference to Wheatley's reaction to GLaDOS calling him a moron.

[edit] "Vitrification Order"

N/A

Location played: When heading through the old Aperture structures toward the condemned testing area.

Comments: The title references the vitrification order signs in the old Aperture test chambers.

[edit] "Music of the Spheres"

Soaring melody with some electronic tones. The tempo increases throughout the piece.

Location played: Plays in the entry room of old Aperture after unlocking the massive vault door. The latter portion also plays after completing the 1950's test chambers.

Comments: Contains unmixed segments of "999999".

[edit] "You Are Not Part of the Control Group"

N/A

Location played: Plays during the first Repulsion Gel test.

Comments: The title refers to Cave Johnson reminding Test Subjects that they are not part of the unfortunate "control group" who took part in potentially lethal tests.

[edit] "Forwarding the Cause of Science"

N/A

Location played: Plays during the 1950's test chambers.

Comments: Appears to be a remixed version of "You Are Not Part of the Control Group".

[edit] "PotatOS Lament"

N/A

Location played: The third main menu screen, featuring the old Aperture structures.

Comments: The synthesized vocals are that of GLaDOS, whilst being trapped in the potato. The word "potato" can also be heard frequently throughout the song. The exact langauage and lyrics of the song have yet to be revealed, but it is most likely in Latin (although some parts may be gibberish), as at the beginning of the song, GLaDOS can be clearly heard to use the Latin word "Lacrimosa", which means "Weeping".

[edit] "The Reunion"

N/A

Location played: Plays in the 1970's test chambers, with Propulsion Gel.

Comments: A heavily remixed version of "Forwarding the Cause of Science".

[edit] "Music of the Spheres 2 (Incendiary Lemons)"

Basically a continuation of "Music of the Spheres", with the instrumentation gradually being replaced with beeps reminiscent of primitive MIDI synthesizers.

Location played: Plays at the beginning and end of the 1970's test chambers and in several locations in the 1980's test chambers.

Comments: The part of the title in parentheses is a reference to Cave Johnson's message about how he would "...burn your house down! With the lemons!" Contains unmixed segments from "999999".

[edit] Volume 3

On October 1, 2011 on the official Portal 2 blog, the third volume out of three of the complete soundtrack titled Portal 2 Soundtrack: Songs to Test By and featuring the fully mixed tracks was released for free, with a link to download the entire soundtrack.

[edit] "Reconstructing More Science"

An electronic that piece vibrates with GLaDOS' renewal of the Aperture Science test chambers.

Location played: In the final level when using the Propulsion Gel during the fight with Wheatley, at the beginning of the ending elevator ride and in various trailers, including the Portal 2 teaser.

Comments: There's also a short version featuring in the E3 gameplay videos.

[edit] "Wheatley Science"

A reference to when Wheatley takes control of Aperture and starts making tests.

Location played: In the fifth main menu.

[edit] "Franken Turrets"

Consists of high-pitched ringing sounds and a rhythmic backing track, which gives a sense of a high-tech environment, while also portraying slight feelings of mourning and nostalgia.

Location played: In the first map of Chapter 8, which consists of the Frankenturret-dedicated chamber and the chamber with the harmless "moat" area.

[edit] "Machiavellian Bach"

The classical music piece that Wheatley plays in Test Chamber 5. Electronic clips can be heard when using the Aerial Faith Plates. Based off Bach's Little Prelude in C minor, BWV 934. Interestingly, the piece has been transposed into F minor.

[edit] "Excursion Funnel"

Eery echoing ringing sounds with added electronics.

Location played: Played when inside an Excursion funnel.

[edit] "TEST"

A reference to Wheatley's attempt to distinguish his first test chamber from GLaDOS's by writing "TEST" on the wall with white panels.

Location played: All of Wheatley's test chambers, except chamber 5. The theme becomes more intense with each chamber.

Comments: Consists of a reworked version of "Franken Turrets".

[edit] "The Part Where He Kills You"

Location played: In the fake Test Chamber 17, when Wheatley attempts to kill Chell realizing that he no longer needs her. The first section also plays when using the Excursion Funnel just after Chamber 12, where the elevator has melted.

Comments: Contains a minor-key version of "Excursion Funnel" and elements of "Wheatley Science" within the first minute.

[edit] "Omg, What has He Done?"

A reference to GLaDOS's cries of dismay at seeing her beloved facility crumble into pieces under the control of Wheatley.

Comments: Parts of it is basically a slowed down remix of "Wheatley Science" that would speed up.

[edit] "Bombs for Throwing at You"

In reference to the bombs used in the final battle with Wheatley in his chamber, as introduced in his sentence "Bombs. For throwing at you.".

Played in the final boss of the game.

Notes: the version on the soundtrack is a slightly modified version of the in-game music.

[edit] "Your Precious Moon"

Similar to "Don't Do It" played when the Portal is placed on the Moon. the title refers to one of the lines Wheatley will say as the player looks up at the Moon.

[edit] "Caroline Deleted"

Played in GLaDOS' chamber before Chell is taken to the Turret Opera. Contains segments from "999999" and "Reconstructing More Science".

[edit] "Cara Mia Addio!"

The song sung by the Turret Opera as Chell leaves, the first 3 seconds appear to be a higher pitched sound at similar to the start of "Don't Do It".

Location played: The elevator ride out of the facility.

Comments: The song is sung by Ellen McLain in bad Italian. Unlike other songs, the version of the song on the official soundtrack has been slightly extended and contains a short segment not included in the original that plays in the actual game.

[edit] "Want You Gone"

The credits song, sung by GLaDOS.

Location played: The credits screen.

Comments: The successor to Still Alive, also composed by Jonathan Coulton.

[edit] "Spaaaaace"

A track mostly made up of ambient sounds. The title is a reference to the Space Core's "SPAAAACE!"

Location played: Played during Wheatley's final thoughts while stranded in Space, immediately following the credits.

[edit] "Space Phase"

A short version of "I Made It All Up" with additional strings from "Cara Mia Addio!".

Location played: Played over the menu after completing the Single Player campaign.

[edit] "Some Assembly Required"

This is the introduction music for co-op

[edit] "Robot Waiting Room #1"

One of the pieces of music played in the Hub. It's a snippet of "You Are Not Part of the Control Group".

[edit] "Robot Waiting Room #2"

One of the pieces of music played in the Hub.

[edit] "Robot Waiting Room #3"

One of the pieces of music played in the Hub.

[edit] "Robot Waiting Room #4"

One of the pieces of music played in the Hub. It's a snippet from "Halls of Science 4". It also plays after starting The Final Hours of Portal 2.

[edit] "Robot Waiting Room #5"

One of the pieces of music played in the Hub.

[edit] "Robot Waiting Room #6"

One of the pieces of music played in the Hub. It's a reworked version of "Forwarding the Cause of Science".

[edit] "You Saved Science"

Played before the end credits when the Vault is opened.

[edit] "Robots FTW"

An upbeat, energetic electronic song.

Location played: Over the end credits to the co-op mode, behind GLaDOS' comments about the test subjects.

Comments: The title is short for "Robots for the Win".

[edit] Other music

The following tracks haven't made the final cut due to their original artists' copyrights.

[edit] "Exile Vilify"

Main article: Exile Vilify

Plays on an Aperture Science Radio. This song is composed by The National, and is the only pop rock song in the game besides "Want You Gone".

Location played: The Rattmann Den near Test Chamber 03 in Chapter 2.

[edit] "Offering"

A smooth jazz played to tranquil testers in the face of almost certain death. This song is composed by Larry Stephens and is from his album also titled "Offering".[2]

Location played: The original Test Chamber 04 from Portal as seen in Chapter 1. Only a small segment is played before the speakers glitch and shut down.

[edit] References

  1. Songs to Test By on the official Portal 2 blog
  2. Stephens' "Offering"

[edit] External links

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