ReMix:Portal 2 "Thermal Encouragement" 2:22

By RebeccaETripp

Arranging the music of one song...

"Triple Laser Phase"

Primary Game: Portal 2 (Valve , 2011, WIN), music by Aaron Dessner, Jonathan Coulton, Matt Berninger, Mike Morasky

Posted 2020-07-10, evaluated by the judges panel

The horror... the horror... This cinematic/contemporary classical horror scoring arrangement of "Triple Laser Phase" from Portal 2 is creepy, unsettling, disturbing, and might give some test subjects nightmares, as Rebecca E. Tripp explores a darker side and conjures up some truly inspired sound design & textures:

"This is my orchestral arrangement of the music which plays in the triple laser puzzle room in Portal 2 (once you get the lasers set up). This is something which I had planned for years now, and I've finally gotten around to it. I'm glad I waited! :D The original soundtrack was composed by Mike Morasky.

Portal 1 and Portal 2 are absolute masterpieces. It is very rare that I will declare with certainty that a video game is a full 10/10 both in terms of my subjective enjoyment of said game and in terms of its objective quality. Every single thing about the plot amazed, delighted, terrified, and intrigued me all at once, and, for a bit of trivia about me, GLaDOS is my absolute favourite villain (from anything) of all time (tied with Gul Dukat from Deep Space Nine). The games have some replay value, if for no other reason than to hear Cave Johnson's handsome voice, LOL.

I've always really liked the Portal soundtracks, but "Triple Laser Phase" was the first track to REALLY make me stop and just... listen. How could something sound so pleasantly emancipating (indirect pun intended) and yet so horrifyingly alien at the same time? I normally don't enjoy media very much when it's filled with dark imagery, violence, suffering, trauma, etc. (with some notable exceptions, mind you -- I'm a sci-fi enthusiast, and a lot of it is pretty dark), but Portal 1 and Portal 2 were so immersive, inspiring, and downright crazy. It was also just unbelievably, spectacularly hilarious -- even though Chell's predicament was technically one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen.

I hope I was able to do this soundtrack justice, and that this cover captures both the creepiness and the faint undercurrent of hope present throughout the franchise. Since the original track was entirely electronic, I thought it would be fun to use 100% organic symphonic sounds to simulate some of the same textures, as well as an ambient sense of machinery, bulkheads, etc., and, of course, the buzzing, pulsing energy radiating from the Aperture Science Thermal Discouragement Beams."

Gul Dukat, eh? Gotta love hatin' those Cardassians. Judges went back and forth on the arrangement a bit, which is especially appropriate when a good amount of extrapolation & a minimal source are at play, but ultimately this is more about Atmosphere, with a capital A. This has an old school mid-20th century scoring vibe (Bernard Herrmann comes to mind) combined with more modern components, and it really gets under the skin & evokes unease and tension. The violin technique in particular reminds me of some of the scoring for Carnivale on HBO, which had these flittering, sporadic, almost insect-like flurries, used to similar effect. Jivemaster writes:

"With the minimal original material to pull inspiration from, I appreciate the melodies you’ve drawn out and built upon to make the mix work. Without going into the numbers, I felt the original was discernible enough within this, but I appreciate Rexy’s breakdown. You’ve captured the mood of the original well, and built upon it."

Emunator adds:

"A lot has been said about this, so I'll just quickly cosign this as a formality. Really innovative arranging from Rebecca, there's a few instruments that sit in the uncanny valley of realism but this time, it felt entirely in service of the creepy mood."

In under two & a half minutes, this mix does a superb job of painting with symphonic textures in a contemporary context, drawing consciously or subconsciously on horror scoring from past eras, but adding some more modern touches along the way. From a textural perspective, I feel like it represents growth & new capabilities that excite me for the future of Rebecca's work, and I hope she can employ some of these techniques, articulations, etc. in more traditional arrangements as well - I'm making a note here, huge success, etc. Spookily recommended!



Latest 1 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2020-07-08 11:40:46

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Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Portal 2 (Valve , 2011, WIN)
Music by Aaron Dessner,Jonathan Coulton,Matt Berninger,Mike Morasky
"Triple Laser Phase"

Tags (11)

Usage > Halloween

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