by Jason Strawley & Andrew Garraway
The creators of Anime Vol. 2 share their captivating journey into the sounds of fights, vintage vibes, and nostalgia.
We had so much fun making the first Anime library that we decided to go back to this extremely broad and creative genre for more inspiration!
From the beginning, we knew that the first library was never going to be the definitive statement on Anime sounds. There’s just too much ground to cover in one library. Anime Vol. 2 is the solution to that problem. The first library definitely had some areas of focus - emotes, beams, guns, and explosions. With that in mind, we shifted the focus of Anime Vol. 2 to a couple of different categories. Fights (kicks, punches, and impacts) and associated character movements (jumps, bursts, and body falls), both which are perhaps the most important part of the Anime experience, plus Lo-Fi & vintage sounds (which are really more of a vibe than a category). Then, we sprinkled in a selection of happy accidents and useful additions to the categories we expanded upon in Anime Vol. 1.
Some of our references included all-time animated classics like Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon plus less well-known (but equally awesome-sounding) gems from the 70s like Japanese Spiderman, live-action Japanese detective shows, and classic Hong Kong action cinema, perhaps better known in the US as the golden age of Kung-Fu. Then we went back to our childhoods and pulled some ideas from 80s Saturday morning cartoons. We feel that this approach has yielded an especially fun and nostalgic collection of sounds.
Andrew (left), Jason (right)
There are also some changes in the technical approach to this collection. The biggest is easily the discovery of the one Anime tool to rule them all - the ARP 2600. Last year, we picked up the recent Korg reissue of the 2600. It is a legendary synth, and arguably made its biggest impression in the area of sound design. There are countless articles out there detailing the heroics of the 2600, so we won’t rehash the specifics, but we highly recommend researching the 2600 if you’re interested in music or film history. Within five minutes of opening the box, we knew this was the device that built the sound of Anime! The distinctive sound of its filter, amplifier section, and spring reverb are essential ingredients. Furthermore, the internal normalizations seem to be custom-tailored to sound effects design. As with the first Anime library, our Eurorack Modular Synths and Moog Matriarch also made key contributions.
"Some of our references included all-time animated classics like Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon plus less well-known (but equally awesome-sounding) gems from the 70s like Japanese Spiderman..."
Another key technical change for Anime Vol. 2 was our approach to mastering. For Anime Vol. 1, we provided two versions of most of the sounds: high fidelity and tape-mastered. After living with the first library for a while, we realized we were only using the tape-mastered sounds. The tape did a lot to reduce piercing high frequencies and soften transients in a really pleasing way. Synthesized sounds can be a bit much, but the tape perfectly sands off the rough edges. To expand upon that idea, we researched what tape machines would have been used in Japan in the 70s and landed on the legendary TEAC A-3340S. We found a shop on Reverb that sells expertly refurbished tape machines and began experimenting. The machine we bought ended up coming with a mystery reel of tape included. There was no brand name or indication of its age. On playback, we found that it contained about 40 minutes worth of poorly transferred Elvis songs, which were super fun to play at half speed. The tape sounded pretty rough, so of course we decided to use it to master this library! When we say master, what we really mean is ‘throw out the instruction manual and punish the tape mercilessly’. We then made the editorial decision to ONLY supply the tape mastered version of each sound.
So, we proudly present Anime Vol 2. Once again, Anime was a super fun area to research, perform, and record. We hope it summons the same feelings of adventure and nostalgia for you as it does for us!
"We shifted the focus of Anime Vol. 2 to a couple of different categories. Fights and associated character movements, both which are perhaps the most important part of the Anime experience, plus Lo-Fi & vintage sounds."