Morphestra puts a fresh spin on how
we view and approach orchestral film scoring.
Developed in association with Kirk
Hunter Studios, it serves up an epic collection
that’s anything but traditional. My copy
came pre-installed on a Glyph 80GB
PortaGig hard drive, but Morphestra will
ship on a 160GB drive by the time you
read this. Since it takes up just over 27GB,
you’re getting a lot of bonus space for
other libraries. Morphestra itself is powered
by Native Instruments Kontakt Player 3
(standalone, RTAS, AU, VST, DXi). Sounds
come in three top-level categories: Atmospheres,
Instrumentals, and Percussives.
The Atmospheres bin is arguably the
crown jewel, containing around 230 presets
grouped in subcategories such as
Dark ’n’ Scary, Disturbed, Euphoric, Mystery/
Suspense, and so on. What sets these
programs apart from the rest is their deep
internal movement and complex, evolving
nature, ideal for initially building the mood
of a piece. In “Days of Old,” for instance,
random phrases of mournful sax are seamlessly,
almost incidentally, woven between
droning organ and reversed string loops,
conveying a sense of blurred emotion.
The Instrumentals are less complex but
just as animated. You get imaginatively
tweaked renditions of solo and ensemble
strings, metal and bamboo flutes, classical
guitar, banjo, sitar, harp, vibe, chimes,
music box, Clavinet, harpsichord, and more.
Morphestra isn’t about usual suspects
such as orchestral brass, woodwinds, or
legato strings — all you get here is a trio of
Kirk Hunter bonus programs. While the
225 main Instrumental patches loosely run
the gamut of what you’d expect, there does
seem to be a lot of repurposing from the
same few dozen multisample sets, which
results in some timbral redundancy.
Still, all the patches are individually compelling.
With five tabs of more than 40
onscreen performance and effects parameters
to pick from on the clean and simple
interface, Kontakt’s advanced scripting is
leveraged to create exciting morphed material
that you can further sculpt. Likewise, a built-in
arpeggiator/gater is the secret weapon
behind tempo-synced layers that give
movement to many of the melodic instruments,
in a stepping Wavestation-esque
sort of way.
In the Percussives category are hundreds
of dynamic impact sequences, world
and symphonic drum loops, bowed and
struck orchestral percussion, scraped and
reversed transitions, altered and prepared
instruments, and more.
Finally, over 130 jaw-dropping multis
amount to ready-made soundtracks in construction
kit form. You can literally hit any
combination of keys in nearly any order and
generate minutes of mind-blowing aural
scenery. Morphestra truly impresses, offering
some of the most inspiring and relevant
modern cinematic material I’ve heard in any
synth or sample library. If you can’t whip up
a killer score to any edgy film, TV drama, or
video game with this bad boy on hand,
maybe gear isn’t the problem.
Diverse, powerful, evocative material.
Capable of huge textures right out of
the box. Simple interface with easy
controls for morphing. Mood-based preset
organization is intuitive. Included
hard drive means near-zero install time
and no impact on storage space.
Not as many electro beats as in previous
Sample Logic libraries. Some
redundancy in Instrumentals bank.
$699 list, samplelogic.com
U.S. dist. by M.V. Pro Audio,
NEED TO KNOW
Who’s this for? Any film, TV, or video
game composer looking for modern,
edgy, relevant sounds. Creators of
electronic and experimental music will
find a lot to love here, too.
How was it created? Samples were
recorded in studios, concert halls,
warehouses, machine shops, and
natural habitats all over the world.
Can the included hard drive keep
up with high track counts?
Absolutely. Under the hood is
7,200rpm SATA-II drive with 8MB
cache, bus power, and FW800 and
What about street cred? Multis were
programmed by Mark Isham, Rupert
Gregson-Williams, David Lawrence,
and Bill Brown, so if the street is in
Hollywood, you’re set.