Giorgio Sancristoforo Ongaku, a west-coast Synthesizer with probability & randomizers

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Giorgio Sancristoforo explores west-coast synthesis with Ongaku, a new standalone Synthesizer packed with probability and randomizers. 

The name Giorgio Sancristoforo stands for sound design software products with experimental, wild concepts. Yes, the sound generators are all standalone, which means you can focus solely on the instrument and are less distracted by the DAW. Such a DAWless experience on the computer.

His last release was a crazy Bentō Synthesizer/noise box with Japanese characters. Bento has a sister panel named Onguaku that goes in the west-coast direction.

giorgio sancristoforo Ongaku


We have two blue panels. The upper panel contains the four voices (agents) while the lower panel contains a wide of different functionalities. Including the master clock, agent’s octave, randomization functions (octave, envelopes, folding & panning), a reverb, a master lowpass filter (pre-reverb), a VU meter, and an ON/OFF switch.

Each agent has the identic features: a hybrid generator with wavefolding and FM options to add harmonic content to the signal, a low pass gate with AR envelope, one probabilistic VCA, and a delay. They also have a mixer to choose between dry and wet signals.

As in west-coast synths, Giorgio Sancristoforo uses lowpass gates instead of classic ADSR envelopes. But the already somewhat exotic sound shapers still have special characteristics here:

According to Giorgio, some of the controls of the agents are not deterministic but rather probabilistic. So for example, the AR envelopes only set the maximal possible value and so you get trigger probabilities for them. These constantly give you new results and make them sound so organic. It is based on a generative approach.


Probabilistic Triggers

The second panel offers a master clock with 2 primary probabilistic generators that trigger agent 1 and 3 and agent 2 and 4. Plus, every agent has its own secondary probabilistic trigger. This allows you to create complex rhythms and counterpoints between each agent.

Finally, you get a vintage-inspired tape recorder with many tape simulations.

Ongaku is capable of creating generative and unpredictable pads and drones, unstable noises, classic west-coast style bongos, and more.


Another fascinating Synthesizer by Giorgio Sancristoforo. It’s a pity that the instruments are still not available as plugins. This would level them massively. Nonetheless, a wild synth perfect for experimental sound designers.

Ongaku by Giorgio Sancristoforo is available now for 19,50€ and runs as a standalone application on macOS (Intel + M1). Not a plugin. Windows version will be available soon. There is a free demo version available on the website.

More information here: Giorgio Sancristoforo 

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