This is a couple of years old, but it’s so good you don’t want to miss it: a documentary look at Stevie Wonder, TONTO – a massive modular synth, early synthesists Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff and the early days of synth funk.
TONTO’s Expanding Head Band
TONTO’s Expanding Head Band were an influential electronic music duo from the 1970s. 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 began life as a series III Moog modular synthesizer. A second Moog III was added in 1971 and TONTO continued to expand with various custom built as well as standard modules (somewhat modified) from many synthesizer manufacturers including Serge with Moog-like panels, Oberheim, Arp 2500/2600, EMS, Roland, Yamaha, etc.
In the mid 1990’s TONTO resided at Mutato Muzika studios the headquarters of Mark Mothersbaugh and Devo which is the basis of the widespread rumour that Mark had aquired TONTO. Actually it has been in the private ownership of Malcolm Cecil since 1975 when Robert left the Head Band to persue his career as a producer. Currently TONTO is alive and well and resides in its own studio in upstate New York close to Woodstock.