Valve released the official Half-Life: Alyx soundtrack today on Steam, and you might think this is a joke, but’s I assure you it’s not: the soundtrack is episodic. Chapter 1, entitled Entanglement, features nine tracks in 320K MP3 and FLAC formats, and will (hopefully) be followed by ten more, featuring “industrial, electronic, experimental and orchestral cinematic pieces, alternating between abstract environmental, emotional soundscapes and direct action oriented cues.”
“Today we are releasing Chapter 1. Entanglement, which includes 9 tracks in both MP3 (320K) and FLAC formats,” Valve said. “We will be releasing all 11 chapters of the soundtrack over the next few months on Steam. If you purchase the soundtrack, it will update with each release and you will get the new chapters automatically in your Steam Library.”
There’s an obvious joke here and I’m not afraid to make it: I look forward to listening to Chapter 2 a few weeks from now, and listening to rumors about why Chapter 3 never happened for the rest of my life after that. But I also have to acknowledge that with Half-Life: Alyx actually launched, the music that will ultimately constitute the soundtrack already exists, which means that we might finally—finally!—get to see Valve make it to 3 somewhere.
The Half-Life: Alyx soundtrack is $10/£7/€8 on Steam, and it’s also available for streaming through Spotify. It’s an interesting blend: Construction Slider is a 26-second sustained chord, while Coetaneous Entanglement is eight-and-half minutes of ambient sounds, industrial buzzing, and occasional bits of rhythmic beating. Thirty Seven After Six, a slow, short piano piece, is the most conventional track of the bunch, but it’s still far from the sort of thing you’re likely to dance to.
None of that is intended as a complaint: Game soundtracks are often a mixup of styles and genres, especially when they’re as comprehensive as this one looks to be. The first chapter of the Half-Life: Alyx soundtrack has a running time of just over 21 minutes, and if that holds over all 11 chapters, that’s… well, that’s a lot of minutes. And if you’re a soundtrack aficionado without a VR headset, you can still pick this one up: Valve changed the way it sells game music on Steam earlier this year, so you’re no longer required to own a game in order to purchase its soundtrack.