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Tonto's Expanding Head Band - Zero Time CD (album) cover

ZERO TIME

Tonto's Expanding Head Band

 

Progressive Electronic

2.94 | 13 ratings

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Progfan97402
4 stars I had actually found a copy of this LP at my nearby Eugene, Oregon record store, and I couldn't believe I found a copy! It was the American pressing on Herbie Mann's Embryo label, which would naturally be the version you'd find here in America. Enough has been said of this British/American duo (Malcolm Cecil is British, Robert Margouleff is American) and their involvement with Steve Wonder on albums like Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, and Fulfillingness First Finale, which were groundbreaking albums, the kind of albums you have to show great respect for even if Stevie Wonder isn't your kind of music. Previously the duo was in a group called Caldera who released one album in 1970 on Kama Sutra called Stabat Mater: A Moog Mass. Caldera broke up, and Cecil and Margouleff continued on as TONTO's Expanding Head Band, TONTO being the custom-made mega-synthesizer known as The Original New Timbral Orchestra, which consisted of modules and parts from Moog, Buchla, ARP and EMS synths. To many listeners, this is though of as groundbreaking at the time, now a dated relic.

"Cybernaut" is a great opening piece, a really catchy piece that I find impossible not to enjoy. "Jetsex" really goes off the deep-end, it's basically a rather experimental piece. "Timewhys" has this nice spacy thing going on, it's a melodic uptempo number. The rest of the album tends to be rather slow and it's this slow paced nature that scares many off. "Aurora", for example, features some really big synth sounds and juicy noise filters, I can't believe how big the synth sounds are here, despite the slow tempo. Try getting that off a Yamaha DX-7. You absolutely cannot (the DX-7 works better with metallic sounds common to the mid 1980s). Even these analog modeling synths like the MicroKorg (which I love, makes great sounds, but nothing like what TONTO could do). "Riversong" sounds like a Moog raga to me, with what sounds like a distant ancestor of AutoTune speaking poetry written by Tama Starr. Actually I believe it was just a voice modified through the synthesizer and could be thought as a prototype vocoder. For some strange reason the next song is called "Tama", it's a slow, spacy song, sounding a bit like something Tomita would do (had this been a classical piece like what Tomita would do, it would pass for something he'd do).

I can understand this album won't be to everyone's liking, but I enjoy it.

Progfan97402 | 4/5 |

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