Teletone Audio’s Ondine promises “the lighter, more hypnotic side of the synth spectrum”

The instrument is being touted as a ‘prequel’ to Teletone Audio’s Scarbo

Image: Teletone Audio

Nashville, Tennessee-based Teletone Audio has unveiled the Ondine, a software instrument designed to create warm, alluring tones and heady atmospheres.

From nostalgic and tapey chords to white noise-infused chiming leads, complete with onboard modulation and effects, Ondine promises character and flexibility in a simple and intuitive interface that focuses on two central parameters and a 5-stage envelope control.

The Ondine purports to be a “prequel” to another software instrument by Teletone Audio, Scarbo. This is for good reason, Teletone Audio founder Jeremy Larson explains, referring to the fact that Scarbo was an instrument “based on and inspired by” the third movement of composer Maurice Ravel’s ‘Gaspard de la Nuit’— called ‘Scarbo’— and that the first movement of that piece is titled ‘Ondine’.

“That piece was based on a poem,” Larson says. “Scarbo was a story about this mischievous goblin character ,while Ondie is the story of this beautiful, seductive water spirit that tries to lure him out of his home and into the water, where he would drown.”

Alongside their poetic significance, the opposites-attract sonic relationship between the two instruments sets a precedent for a wide-ranging palette of sounds, from sinister to sweet. Indeed, their graphical interfaces are exactly the same apart from their respective dark and light finishes.

“With both Scarbo and Ondine […] —this is my deepest desire for you: that you play music, that you perform music, that you write parts,” said Larson. “And we want to create the simplest and most inspirational way for you to do that.”

To this end, one defining characteristic of the interface of both Ondine and Scarbo is their amalgamations of several conventional synthesizer parameters into one or more simple controls; namely the Mood and Movement parameters.

From envelopes and filters to LFOs and effects, Larson explains, “all that stuff is tucked under the hood, controlled by a minimum number of knobs. We want to create the maximum number of sounds and possibilities that you can make with an instrument, but with the fewest knobs possible.”

A company founded off the back of Larsen’s personal reconciliation with the medium of music after a period of “intense highs and lows,” Teletone Audio has a distinct penchant for the poetic. The developer’s first design was the Postcard Piano, in Larsen’s words a “loving tribute to the piano itself, which has carried me through a lot.”

Watch the walkthrough for Ondine:

Available now, Ondine is a virtual instrument plug-in for Native Instruments’ free Kontakt Player, compatible with most major DAWs. For more information, visit teletoneaudio.com.

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