If you joined the ranks of Aperture Science semi-voluntary testing associates last month in their struggle to escape the rigorous schedule put forth by GLaDOS, then you were probably too busy puzzling out how to get Fluid X through Portal Y to pay much attention to the music. But rest assured, dear test subject! The music was there, and it was pumping through your ear canals and setting the mood quite effectively.
While most companies might see fit to take your money for the privilege of hearing these remasters outside of your accustomed test chambers, Valve has proven themselves far friendlier than the cold, metal minds left at Aperture. The first of three planned volumes of aural enhancement is available right now, at the non-negotiable cost of free.
Never content to let the dream die, Valve tagged the music as being from the Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory. They're actually mostly from Mike Morasky, longtime Valve designer and composer for Portal 2, TF2, and Left 4 Dead. (Fun Fact: He is three parts of that game's fictional rock band, the Midnight Riders.) Morasky also has a ton of talent in visual effects, having done technical direction and design on movies in the Matrix, LoTR, and Pirates series. Of his work on Portal 2, he's noted most of the challenge lies in blending acoustic and digital sounds, ultimately giving off an impression that these beats could've been composed by some of Aperture's electronic brains.
As for the free tracks themselves, they do live up to the mantle of a game soundtrack: alternately forboding and progressive, they score Portal 2's heart-pounding moments alongside its calmer ones. The first track, "Science Is Fun," is instantly recognizable from many of the trailers, though the middle of the album is more ambient, allowing for easy listening, but with familiar hauntings of electronic chords in-between.
Seeing this OST available for free is pretty inspiring, considering that as of last month, Valve had no plans to release these tracks separately. If this outpouring of support for Portal continues well into the DLC phase, Portal 2 could stay a strong contender on many Game of the Year lists.