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Zero-G Dark Skies: Cinematic Ambiences

Sample Library By John Walden
Published May 2010

One look at the cover art for Dark Skies leads me to suspect that most experienced sample users will know, pretty much, what they are going to get. If you guessed dark soundscapes, sci‑fi sound effects and large metallic objects being hit, you are pretty much on the money. There is little by way of conventional 'music' within this collection, and the obvious targets here are composers and sound designers who work in film, TV or game production.

Zero-G Dark Skies: Cinematic Ambiences


I auditioned the WAV versions, which comprise nearly 1000 individual samples, spanning over 4GB and presented in 24‑bit, 44.1kHz format. However, the material is also usefully presented in some of the more popular soft-sampler formats. The WAVs are nicely organised into three main folders: Ambiences, Construction Kits and Single Hits. In each case, there are further themed sub‑folders so, for example, the Single Hits — which, as the name suggests, are dominated by shorter sound effects and the like — are subdivided into some 20 sub‑folders with titles such as CPU FX, Harmonic Cymbal or Mech FX.

Over 50 Construction Kits are provided, organised into Ambient Score, Dark Score, Science Core and Textural groups. In truth, on occasions, these groupings felt a little arbitrary, but the moods suggested by the folder titles give a good idea of the overall flavour. Each construction kit generally contains between four and 10 individual elements, combining 'hits' and sound FX with lengthier ambience, soundscape or drone sounds. The latter are uniformly excellent, and the synthesis or processing of the sounds ensures plenty of stereo movement and development; these are not static pads. Usefully, each construction kit also includes a short demo, illustrating how the loops might be put together to create a suitable sound‑design cue. The collection is rounded off by over 300 'Ambiences', again categorised into sub‑folders and titles such as Aquasonic, Nightmare, Cinematic and Horrific, which accurately reflect the contents.

Dark Skies is not the first sample library to meet the needs of composers and sound designers who are working in the horror or sci‑fi genres. However, it is a first‑class collection suitable for top‑end professional use and, given the quantity of material, offers very good value for money. While predominantly of a sound‑design nature, I found it easy enough to layer melodic instruments over the top of the samples, so they can be used as a bed for something more obviously musical, albeit retaining a dark and unsettling tone. Indeed, this is scary‑sounding stuff and those of a nervous disposition should not audition alone in a darkened room! John Walden

£89 including VAT.

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