Animusic 2, like its predecessor "Animusic", contains computer rendered animations that are set to music - in fact, the essence of the animations is that they are driven by the music, each musical note being connected with some action in the animation. While this fact may be of more interest to people concerned with the "how" rather than simply the experience provided by the final product, I think that understanding the process that goes into Animusic is part of the fun. If Rube Goldberg conducted an orchestra in cyberspace, it might look like some of the animations in Animusic 2.
I enjoyed the first Animusic tremendously, and this DVD presents more of the same. While there are a few aspects in which Animusic 2 differs from its predecessor, the similarities outweigh the differences and the overall experience is remarkably similar.
This album is similar musically to the original. It features a range of styles, and relies mostly upon struck or plucked strings and melodic percussion (such as xylophones / marimbas) to carry most of the tunes. Drums and synthesizers also feature heavily.
The music is interesting enough when played with the animation, but does not stand alone simply as music as well as the first album did. Still, the tunes are catchy and enjoyable, and you will find yourself tapping your toes and bouncing your head as you watch / listen.
The animation is detail intensive and exceptionally well rendered. The instrument models and sets are clever and interesting to watch. On the whole, even if the experience is essentially another iteration of the original Animusic concept, this is not at all a bad thing.
There are some differences, and they are generally for the better. For example, the instruments/players show more "personality" than in the previous outing, swinging their arms or bouncing to the beat even when they aren't actually playing. And the special features are more varied than they were previously. But these differences are evolutionary, rather than dramatic.
On the whole, this is a great example of musical animation and is lots of fun to watch (I watched it 3 times through the first time I put it in the player). Although I may enjoy the original slightly more, this is a worthwhile experience for anyone who enjoyed the original, or has an interest in animation. I have no doubt I will watch this many, many times.
There are 8 animations on Animusic 2, and while most make use of instruments that are different from those seen in the first album, the overall style is similar. Included are some acoustic pieces that feature organic sounding (albeit fanciful looking) instruments, such as "Resonant Chamber" and "Pipe Dream 2", as well as pieces that make extensive use of synthesized sounds, such as "Heavy Light" and "Fiber Bundles". Also included is a drum solo, "Gyro Drums".
The special features include commentary by the director, as well as design stills, set build-ups, and some interesting multi-angle presentations of the animations. The disc includes both 5.1 and 2.0 surround audio mixes, as well as full-screen (4:3) and widescreen presentations of the animations, so this disc can be fully appreciated on a wide variety of systems, whether you have a standard stereo television or a home-theatre with all the bells and whistles.