For Jonathan Dobyns, a co-founder of the project along with Clint Carney, it’s all about the music. An anime fan himself, specifically of what Tiger Lab calls the “golden age” of anime, Dobyns was drawn to old school titles that he could find on VHS. This coincided with his love of vinyl records, where there was some collecting overlap. The habits are similar, coinciding with the idea of holding a physical copy of something that you enjoy in your hands.Decades later, Dobyns decided to jump into anime soundtrack remastering, a niche that he felt needed exploring as vinyl was making a comeback.The company started off with a vinyl version of the 1987 anime film Wicked City‘s soundtrack, which came out in 2015. The score, created by Osamu Shoji, definitely has horror influences, with many of the tracks putting an organ front and center. It’s similar to the Urotsukidoji soundtrack in how it combines a number of genres and electronica to create a unique sound, which is appropriate considering Wicked City is cyberpunk defined. When most anime fans hear the name Urotsukidoji: Legend Of The Overfiend, they think of a few unsavory things: tentacle rape being the primary one. It’s a thing known for being sadistic and generally unpleasant, although that’s more on a visual level.However, Tiger Lab Vinyl are anime soundtrack specialists focusing on something else. As the company’s name suggests, the spotlight is on vinyl, and with Urotsukidoji, it’s the music.Urotsukidoji‘s score, done by Masamichi Amano, sounds like this bizarre combination of heavy metal, new age, and 8-bit. Throughout the same track, you’ll hear what sounds like instruments screaming, which will transition into flutes and then into pumped up arcade tunes. Since the animated Urotsukidoji premiered in 1987, you can say it sounds like a product of its time. However, its blending of disparate genres makes it feel like musical whiplash. Considering the content of the anime, this isn’t surprising. It’s probably extremely appropriate. Stay on target Finally, Ash Ketchum Is A Pokemon Master‘One Punch Man’ Get A Video Game, Probably Has More Punches Many of the soundtracks that Tiger Lab covers are ones that Dobyns himself grew up with. When starting Tiger Lab, he had a list of scores he wanted to tackle, which included Wicked City and Perfect Blue. It was a combination of nostalgia for the anime and reverence for the score itself.“Some of the music we’ve released has stayed with me for a long time,” he said. “I remember dubbing the opening cues to Devilman on a cassette tape to listen to over and over again. The way the dreamy soundscapes blended with the violent, prehistoric imagery was like candy to me.”Tiger Lab is jumping on a bandwagon that’s been rolling fast recently, and that’s the resurgence of vinyl. Forbes reported earlier this year that vinyl sales are expected to reach the $1 billion mark for the first time in the 21st century, so units are selling a lot. As somebody who mostly listens to Spotify, I never understood this, but I also never grew up with vinyl. Dobyns has memories of holding a record and can make comparisons between the clear quality of listening to vinyl and an MP3.“There’s something special about holding a record in your hands,” Dobyns said. “Staring at the beautiful artwork, reading liner notes, collecting all different variants of the same release, and most importantly the way it sounds.”Plus, it provides a more personal music-listening experience.“It’s so much more satisfying than shuffling through the iTunes library and checking out a jpg. of artwork. It’s something you can hold in your hands.”And in the vinyl industry, remasters of older soundtracks, especially ones that included film scores, were also getting notice, hence why Dobyns got into the game with a niche of his own. Thanks to his love of anime and vinyl, it seemed obvious.“I thought since the majority of labels were releasing horror and cult film scores, I could offer something different to the soundtrack community. It felt like a natural progression for me,” he said.The work Tiger Lab does is hyper-specific, with a clientele that has similar experiences as Dobyns did with anime and has the money to buy beautiful vinyl records and play them. However, Dobyns stresses that this is as much a personal project as it is a business venture. Urotsukidoji is already beginning to ship, and there will be a fifth title ready for production in the coming months. Dobyns won’t say what it is, but he promises it’ll be “a masterpiece from the tail end of what we like to describe as the golden era.”You can continue to listen to these soundtracks online (you can find most of them on YouTube in some capacity), but it doesn’t compare to holding a record that was produced legally and officially (according to Dobyns), so you’ll be supporting creators. Plus, the Urotsukidoji package looks like it’s made out of viscera, which will go well with your rewatch of hardcore, violent 1980s anime.Follow Tiger Lab on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Hands-On: Lego Hidden Side Packs Plenty of Spooky AR FunPut Women on U.S. Currency With Google’s AR App Stay on target New technology is helping US Army soldiers precisely locate not only their own positions but those of friends and foes.Tactical Augmented Reality (TAR) replaces night-vision goggles and global positioning systems with an all-in-one heads-up display.The one-inch-by-one-inch eyepiece mounted to a soldier’s helmet overlays a map of the terrain in their field of vision. It also wirelessly transmits data from a connected tablet and thermal imager to show the target and its distance.Boasting a split screen, the display also highlights forward and rearward views, giving users eyes in the back of their head. Or on top of their head: Simply lift the rifle over a wall or other obstacle to see the sites while staying hidden.Designed for use day and night, TAR wirelessly connects to a tablet worn on a soldier’s waist and to a thermal imager mounted on their firearm, allowing folks to share images with other members of the squad.The US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) has been working for nearly a decade to develop the technology necessary for TAR’s tiny eyepiece.The key, according to electronics engineer David Fellowes, was miniaturizing the image to fit the one-inch screen. Existing tech can compress pixels enough to fit on a smartphone-sized window. But CERDEC’s main challenge was creating new hardware to meet their needs.By 2010, the department achieved that goal, creating a system that works in black-and-white and a greenish monochrome, which has already been fielded in certain units.And while those versions are bright enough to be seen in daylight, CERDEC wants to produce more advanced models in full color, with an advanced brightness display.“TARs will provide soldiers with a much higher level of situational awareness than they currently have,” Fellowes said, adding that he expects the devices will “save lives and contribute to mission success.”Watch a simulation of the new Tactical Augmented Reality device in the video above, courtesy of the US Army.