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ANIMUSIC 1 & 2 DVDs Review by Kate Kessler

Computer Animated Music
P.O. Box 162107
Austin, TX 78716

The ANIMUSIC DVD series is wholly different from anything we have ever seen. ANIMUSIC is exactly what the name implies; animated music. What does that mean exactly? Let me try to explain. In some ways it is as if the music has come alive by the animation of the instruments in a completely creative way.

The first DVD, ANIMUSIC Special Edition, contains seven different types of songs. Examples include: "Future Retro" contains animated guitars, a light show, and drum machines; "Stick Figures" works with drums, various stringed instruments, and a horn section; and "Aqua Harp" that not only features a "living" harp, but also a chime section and another wooden instrument. "Drum Machine," "Pipe Dream," "Acoustic Curves," and "Harmonic Voltage" are the final four featured videos. There are many extras included on the DVD as well from how the individual videos were made to director commentary to screen stills.

The second DVD, ANIMUSIC II, branches out and becomes even more creative. "Starship Groove" showcases an animated robot band with laser lights on a changing stage. "Resonant Chamber" is difficult to describe so I will quote the website, "A purely acoustic number played by a complex multi-necked stringed instrument in a peaceful inner chamber high up in the sky." This is a very beautifully colored and visually interesting video. "Cathedral Pictures" is a spectacular showcase of pipe organ. >From the website: "The music on this piece is from 3 movements of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition". Played on a light-beam emitting pipe organ with drums, rock bass, many other instruments, and some pyrotechnics thrown in at the end!" It really is something to see. There are eight total videos on this DVD-all of them very different. This DVD also includes many special features and extras.

What is not clear from a written review about the kind and description of this unusual animation becomes clear on their website. They have video clips and photos to demonstrate the kinds of animation featured. It is not animation like a cartoon - it looks real. In fact, we were not entirely sure we were watching animation at first! It is crystal clear and beautifully designed. While the music is digital in nature, it represents many instruments we are familiar with and then some we are not. I have found it has heightened the awareness of musical instruments in other music we listen to. I can see this being used in conjunction with orchestra study or a music appreciation course.

ANIMUSIC is completely original. That is something hard to do in today's world! In some ways it was like going to a wonderful concert where we could watch the sounds being made - not just hear them. Some of the creations in the videos make the music come to life. Every single child I have showed this to, and every adult, has been drawn into the art that are these videos. It really takes seeing it to understand it so I encourage you to check out the website for further details.

Product Review by Kate Kessler, Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2007