There were quite a number of questions about the header picture on this website. The picture features TONTO: The Original New Timbral Orchestra. It was created by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff.
But these two musicians also cooperated with other artists, one of them which is Stevie Wonder…actually: they programmed most of the synthesizers for Stevie Wonder’s music.
TONTO was used on albums such as Tonto rides again and Zero Time created by Cecil & Margouleff alias “Tonto’s expanding head band”.
…No, not this TONTO
And although the huge synthesizer seems not real, it is! There are plenty of documents and videos about TONTO and how it was built and used. If you’re still not convinced : in the following movie Malcolm Cecil explains how TONTO was created.
And what does Robert Margouleff say about TONTO?
This is an interview with Robert Margouleff and a discussion about the production of Stevie Wonder records.
TONTO moves to Calgary…
The machine behind Stevie Wonder’s Superstition is one of the most advanced analog synthesizers of its time, and it happens to call Calgary’s National Music Centre home. It was acquired by the Calgary’s NMC in 2013. In this video you can see how the system is disassembled and moved to Calgary, and assembled again.
This text is from the Calgary NMC website about the role of TONTO in their ‘Living collection’. “The Original New Timbral Orchestra (TONTO) is the first multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer, capable of producing many tone colours with different voices simultaneously. Beginning with a single Moog Series III Modular in 1968, creators Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff continued to expand TONTO with synth modules from different manufacturers, along with custom additions designed by Cecil. Famous for its warm, rich timbres, TONTO is a revolutionary feat of music technology. Through collaborations with popular artists like Stevie Wonder, the Isley Brothers and Quincy Jones, TONTO introduced synthesizers to rhythm and blues and pop music.”
Documentary extract talking about TONTO’s collaboration with Stevie on 4 classic 70’s records. CD of classic TONTO now available on www.tontosexpandingheadband.com
TONTO cannot (yet) rest ….
Now that TONTO resides in the Calgary NMC, it is available to anyone that wants to fiddle with this system. This session was filmed during the RBMA Bass Camp Calgary 2019. Canadian artists Softcoresoft, Debby Friday and Korea Town Acid try their hands at using The Original New Timbral Orchestra, TONTO, the first and largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer in the world…