New Album From Robin Hatch Features Iconic T.O.N.T.O. Synthesizer

Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist Robin Hatch has released a new, full-length album, T.O.N.T.O., inspired by and recorded on the synth of the same name.

The Original New Timbral Orchestra (T.O.N.T.O.) is a massive multitimbral modular analog synthesizer, created by synthesists and producers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff.

The duo, working as Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, created a seminal synth album with it, Zero Time. This led to them collaborating with Stevie Wonder on arguably his most important albums, including: Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions & Fulfillingness’ First Finale.

Instead of an organ, the Phantom of the Paradise plays The Original New Timbral Orchestra.

The massive modular was also featured in later work with the likes of Quincy Jones, The Isley Brothers, Steve Hillage, Billy Preston, Weather Report, The Doobie Brothers and others.

T.O.N.T.O. also made an appearance in the 1974 cult film Phantom of the Paradise, a rock opera take on Phantom of the Opera.

It’s now at the National Music Gallery in Calgary, where Hatch recorded the album over 4 days in the studio.

Here’s Hatch at the NMC, performing live and telling the story of how she met Cecil and ended up recording with T.O.N.T.O.:

In addition to Hatch, the album also features Eric Slick (Dr. Dog) and Leland Whitty (BadBadNotGood) on Brazil, doom metal violinist Laura Bates (Volur) on Airplane, drummer Lowell Whitty on Inspector, Nick Thorburn (Islands) on Mockingbird, and saxophonist Joseph Shabason on The Standoff.

The album was mixed by Carlin Nicholson (Zeus, Bahamas), and mastered by Robert Margouleff. The album is dedicated to the late Malcolm Cecil.

The album is available now via Bandcamp. You can preview it below:

Synths featured include: T.O.N.T.O., Yamaha CS-80, Oberheim Four Voice, Linn Drum, RMI Explorer & ARP Solina.


via Aaron Isgar

7 thoughts on “New Album From Robin Hatch Features Iconic T.O.N.T.O. Synthesizer

  1. I think this is a great example of how you can own >$200,000 worth of equipment and not know what to do with it. On the other hand, I applaud this woman who makes these instruments sound like a Casio VL tone. Great job.

    1. Oh please tell us what to do with it glorious one. I mean, how does the synth world even exist without your words of wisdom. I’m staring at my knobs right now wondering how can I ever move forward without your approval. Please let us know what you think!!!

    2. I don’t disagree at all. Not trying to be unkind but the tracks were quite simplistic and the sound grating. Kebu won’t be losing any sleep.

  2. Tonto is a fictional character; he is the Native American (either Comanche or Potawatomi) companion of the Lone Ranger, a popular American Western character created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Tonto has appeared in radio and television series and other presentations of the characters’ adventures righting wrongs in 19th century western United States.

    In Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, “tonto” translates as “a dumb person”, “moron”, or “fool”. In the Italian version the original name is retained, but in the Spanish dubbed version, the character is called “Toro” (Spanish for “bull”) or “Ponto”. Show creator Trendle grew up in Michigan, and knew members of the local Potawatomi tribe, who told him it meant “wild one” in their language. When he created the Lone Ranger, he gave the moniker to the Ranger’s sidekick, apparently unaware of the name’s negative connotations.

Leave a Reply