December 23, 2008

TONTO's Expanding Head Band: Tonto Rides Again

Tonto Rides Again: (from Wiki) Tonto's Expanding Head Band was an influential electronic music duo from the early 1970s, despite releasing a relatively small number of albums. The project was conceived by two Grammy-winning musicians and sound designers: Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff.

TONTO is an acronym for "The Original New Timbral Orchestra": the world's first (and still the largest) multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer, designed and constructed by Malcolm Cecil.TONTO was essentially a series III Moog modular synthesizer expanded and customized with various other manufacturer's modules (Serge with Moog-like panels, Oberheim, EMS, Arp 2500/2600, etc.). TONTO resided at Mutato Muzika studios in the mid 1990s, the headquarters of Mark Mothersbaugh and Devo. The synth has been in the private ownership of Malcolm Cecil since he acquired Robert Margouleff's share of the ownership over two decades ago.

Tonto's Expanding Head Band's first recording, the album Zero Time, on the U.S. Embryo label (distributed by Atlantic Records), was released in 1971 and attracted the attention of many leading artists of that era because of the unique, warm, musical sounds that TONTO was capable of generating. Chief among those artists was Stevie Wonder whose involvement with TONTO started with Music of My Mind and continued through Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness' First Finale and Jungle Fever, all projects which featured Margouleff and Cecil as associate producers, engineers and programmers. Zero Time was reissued by U.S. Atlantic records in 1975 as just Tonto's Expanding Head Band with a different cover photo.

The TONTO synthesizer was used in Brian De Palma's 1974 movie "Phantom of the Paradise".

1. Cybernaut
2. Jetsex
3. Timewhys
4. Avrora
5. Riversong
6. Tama
7. Ferryboat
8. Pyramodal
9. Cameltrain
10. Judgementor
11. Freeflight
12. Tontomotion
13. Tranquillium