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Museum : T.O.N.T.O.

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. T.O.N.T.O.

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T.O.N.T.O. (The Original New Timbral Orchestra)

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. Manufacturer:
Moog, and various modules put together by Malcolm Cecil

The Original New Timbral Orchestra

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Owned by Malcom Cecil Shown here at Mutato Musica, Devo musician Mark Mothersbaugh's studio, image courtesy of Kevin Lightner

Originally a Moog modular designed by Malcolm Cecil. It is now a combination of Moog, Serge (with moog-like panels), Oberheim, Arp 2500/2600, Blacett, etc. Many goodies Malcolm Cecil did himself.---Kevin Lightner

Rex Probe describes how some of the mutation took place:

"As it turned out, I first met my STS engineering associate, Kevin Braheny, while he was working as Malcolm Cecil's engineer on the TONTO machine then located at the L.A. Record Plant during the Winter of 1973-74. ... He and I first met while doing an over-dub session at the Electric Lady, NYC...The bass player on the the 'live' take was so stoned out that he couldn't play in time or tune...So Malcolm and I used the TONTO system, which I was then a tech on, to emulate the bass player's tone and punch-in on the mutated parts. This was in Fall 1971, I think.... Anyway - Malcolm was always in the back of that monster with a trimmer adjustment tool trying like hell to get the damn thing to track. 'It's not easy being a MOOG.' There must have been 30 or more oscillators in that beast - no easy calibration job. The power supplies alone were in a 25" high rack that must have weighed a good 300 lbs. - big linears.

So, I introduced Malcolm [Cecil] & Kevin [Braheny] to [the] Serge [modular system] and that's how the design of the New Timbral Oscillator got started - as an upgrade for all the TONTO Moog osc.'s. I worked with Serge on making the Moog-like face plates with Serge's NTOs as the electronics."---Rex Probe

"TONTO,... the Ginormous Moog system used by Malcolm Cecil and Bob Margouleff on at least 2 albums, "Zero Time" (1971?), on Polydor and another which was (I think) called "It's About Time"....The stuff is showing it's age a bit now, but there are some lovely moments, including a Vocoder(?)-produced 'lead vocal' on 'Riversong'. Some of the tuning is a bit dodgy, which suggests that they were indeed using 901s [original Moog VCOs] on this album at least!" TONTO "appears in the movie 'Phantom of the Paradise' (1974?)"---Jim Gardner

TONTO also appears prominently on Stevie Wonder's multi-platinum album, "Songs in the Key of Life".---Kevin Lightner

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