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SoundMorph | Users of Tomorrow

Sample Library
Published August 2013

When you or I use a piece of software, whether it is something from Adobe, Microsoft, AutoCAD or whoever, the only 'working' sound we hear is the occasional beep telling us that a particular action is complete or cannot be done. In films and TV, however, every action performed by a computer is accompanied by frantic sequences of digital ticks, clicks, gurgles and pops. Users of Tomorrow is a collection of over 1800 interface noises of that kind, which sound designers working on games, ads, TV projects and films can use to make fictitious technology and computer programs appear futuristic and hi-tech.

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SoundMorph | Users of TomorrowFor those who want to do some sound designing of their own, a free version of SoundMorph's Galactic Assistant synthesizer comes with the download. It's incredibly easy to work with and very effective for creating futuristic sound effects like those in the library.

In terms of categories, the content is organised into folders titled Subtle High Tech, Confirms, Pauses, Calculations and Text, Drones and Loops, Holograms, Glitch, Browse, Liquid Faces, High Tech Clean Layers, Open Interface, Close Interface, Buttons 'n Switches, Static and Noise, Solo Beeps and Alarms. Half of the folders simply open to display a long list of samples, but the others contain subfolders that help narrow things down a little. The overall impression is that there is a lot of content, although it's surprising how fussy one becomes when searching for just the right kind of glitch or hologram noise! Apart from some of the alarm sounds, little of the material has a melodic or rhythmic identity, so if no one sample does the job, two or more can easily be layered to create new effects. In most cases, though, there will probably be something already in the library that is suitable.

In each sound category there's usually something tonal, as well as more noise-based clips. The library's producers have also taken care to ensure that there is a wide range of sample lengths and a variety of textures. Of course, the sounds are pure fantasy, really, so it is also apparent that many are interchangeable. For example, one of the power-up sounds from the Subtle High Tech folder could easily be used as an 'open or close interface' sound.

What the library lacks, if anything, are samples created acoustically, although there are a few. Obviously, the samples are supposed to sound digital, but futuristic sounds can still be made using acoustic instruments, and their inclusion would inevitably add variety and suit the kind of sci-fi set-design where spaceships and robots are like living organisms.

Foley sound artists may well be interested in this library, because it provides an instant solution to a lot of sound-effect problems. It might also be of use to producers who want to add narrative effects to their tracks (as the Prodigy have done very successfully), or techno and industrial artists wanting to incorporate non-melodic sounds into their music. Yet another niche thoroughly filled! Tom Flint

Published August 2013