C418

Minecraft Volume Alpha

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AllMusic Review by

Among the many immersive aspects of Minecraft, the extremely popular "open world" video game created by Markus "Notch" Persson, is its original music and sound effects. All of the former and some of the latter were supplied by Daniel Rosenfeld, who goes by C418. In 2011, the German musician and producer self-released this first volume of the game's soundtrack, which also incorporated some previously unheard pieces. (Minecraft Volume Beta followed two years later.) Though Rosenfeld works with software and keyboards, it's easy to hear -- through wistful piano melodies and soothing yet slightly eerie atmospheres -- why he has been compared to impressionist composer Erik Satie and ambient music innovator Brian Eno. Likewise, much of Rosenfeld's material for the game is gentle and understated. In highlight "Subwoofer Lullaby," for instance, sensitive strings swell, and pressed- and plucked-sounding melodies flicker with similar flair. Most of the tracks don't have a beat, but the likes of "Cat," "Dog," "Droopy Likes Ricochet," and "Droopy Likes Your Face" add variety as brief and upbeat synth pop tunes. It's just as impressive that none of the recurring elements are pronounced or simple enough to become fatiguing with repeated play. Minecraft Volume Alpha was available only as a download and on streaming services until 2015, when Ghostly International pressed it on compact disc, black vinyl, and limited-edition green vinyl -- the last of which was was packaged in a lenticular jacket. This treatment from a revered label affirmed the value of Rosenfeld's work both inside and outside the game.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
1:04
2
1:51
3
3:28
4
0:41
5
2:57
6
2:39
7
3:23
8
4:13
9
1:05
10
1:54
11
4:41
12
1:09
13
1:29
14
3:11
15
1:27
16
2:57
17
2:03
18
3:34
19
3:06
20
2:25
21
4:14
22
1:42
23
1:36
24
1:56
blue highlight denotes track pick