Thursday, 22 November 2007

TONTO's Expanding Head Band: A Synthesizer the Size of Nebraska

The alternate cover taken from an old Synapse cover (refused by our internal graphics department; they said the quality was too lousy...).

I really LOVE TONTO's Expanding Head Band. Really. But I'm just happy that they produced just two original records (plus two compilations; that's one compilation for each of their regular LPs...). Otherwise my plan to come up with a complete anthology of their officially released output would have driven me mad (I might have looked like Malcolm Cecil on our alternate cover artwork).

Their discography is so funny:
  • The first lp, Zero Time from 1971 was re-released twice on different compilations (Tonto Rides Again from 1996, and Featuring Malcolm Cecil from 2006, which is also known as the "Collector's Album"), using original titles and durations. So far so good. No problems here.
  • Then came the second album, It's About Time (1974). A great album indeed. Also re-released twice on said compilations. BUT without the first track ("Beautiful You"). AND, sadly, using different names and a new order of tracks. PLUS, three of the seven re-released original tracks were used in abridged versions (missing between 20-90 secs) (it should also be mentioned that the second compilation came up with a bonus track).

[At this point I'll skip debating about TONTO's proper it TONTO's like on their official website, T.O.N.T.O's....or Tonto's...]

It took a while to collect, compare and compile all available tracks and to come up with this, hopefully, (almost) complete anthology of Tonto's officially published music. Plus a few gimmicks like two short youtube clips, an interview, some cool pictures, & two bonus tracks with Stevie Wonder (sic!). But given Tonto's chaotic discography I'm quite sure that I've unintentionally added yet another strange mishap (typos, omissions) to make things even more confusing. Let me know.

So, this is was you'll get:
From "Zero Time", 1971 (using remastered versions from "Featuring Malcolm Cecil"):
1.01 - Cybernaut (remastered)
1.02 - Jetsex (remastered)
1.03 - Timewhys (remastered)
1.04 - Aurora (remastered)
1.05 - Riversong (remastered)
1.06 - Tama (remastered)

From "It's About Time", 1974 (partly using remastered versions from "Featuring Malcolm Cecil"):
1.07 - Beautiful You
1.08 - Tonto's Travels [=Tontomotion] (complete)
2.01 - Tontomotion [=Tonto's Travels] (remastered, abridged)
2.02 - Tranquilium [=Nil Desperandum] (remastered)
2.03 - Ferryboat [=The Boatman] (remastered)
2.04 - Building the Pyramid [=Pyramodal] (complete)
2.05 - Pyramodal [=Building the Pyramid] (remastered, abridged)
2.06 - Journey to the West [=Cameltrain] (complete)
2.07 - Cameltrain [=Journey to the West] (remastered, abridged)
2.08 - Judgementor [=Forty-Nine Judges] (remastered)
2.09 - Freeflight [=Bird Flies Free] (remastered)

Bons track from "Featuring Malcolm Cecil", previously unreleased:
2.10 - Bittersweet (remastered)

Bonus tracks produced by Tonto's Expanding Head Band:
2.11 - Living for the City [by Stevie Wonder]
2.12 - Superstition [by Stevie Wonder]

Ah, and I should maybe add visiual evidence for why I titled this compilation ...the Size of Nebraska. Judge yourself (I think this this is just half of the actual beast):

Added 6 December 2007
I received an email from "TONTO" notiyfing me that their collector's album is still in print and available at Amazon. I am sorry for my mistake and have therefore deleted the links to "A Synthesizer the Size of Nebraksa". As my mission statement is to preserve commercially neglected electronic music classics it was clearly not my intention to publish music which is still available.

Six copies of Tonto's Collector's album (cover says "Featuring Malcolm Cecil") are available from these sources:

Another nine copies can be found at (ranging from 10 to 100 Pounds):

I do highly recommend to buy these CDs as TONTO's music is simply great. TONTO's "It's about time" remains still out of print, so those looking for the complete Tonto oeuvre should look out for this LP at Ebay or other dealers.


snap said...

Thank you Orpheus Machine for yet another strange gem, again, I'd never heard of these fellows, but this is a treat, a wonderful strange garden of quirky evocative bleeps and groonz!

Sergej said...

I was looking for TONTO's and i found YOU. AMAZING BLOG !!! Appreciate your work. Thank You and Good Luck.

P.S. I have one small request: MORT GARSON Signs of the Zodiac-any. Thank you

Adam Eleven said...

@ Sergej

Thanks for your comment. As far as I know the Sign of the Zodiac is a series of twelve records...and I have none of them :-( sorry.

Anonymous said...

FYI these tracks are still commercially available. it's not so ethical to be redistributing them.

Adam Eleven said...

@ anonymous

As you will see there's not a single item on this blog which is still in print (I also disregard any request for readily available stuff, which I often get).
But to my knowledge the limited collector's edition is sold out and will not be repressed. Please let me know if this info is wrong and I'll delete the links.

seasob said...

I've got (I think ) four of the Sounds of the Zodiac LP's, as well as the excellent 'Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds' (which has been re-released on CD). The Signs records are not that exciting, IMO, but worth a listen.