As part of Synth Week on MusicRadar, we asked you to name your ultimate synth icon: the person or band/group who’s done the most to further the instrument’s cause. Having sifted through your nominations, we compiled a final shortlist and asked you to pick a winner - now it’s time for the results. To kick things off, we’ve got a couple of synth music’s unsung heroes…
They may only have released two albums, but TONTO’s (AKA Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff) influence on synth music is incalculable, thanks to their input on albums by the likes of Weather Report, Gil Scott-Heron, The Isley Brothers, Quincy Jones, Bobby Womack and - most notably - Stevie Wonder. The name is actually an acronym; it stands for The Original New Timbral Orchestra and refers to a Frankenstein’s monster of a synth that started life as a Moog modular but was expanded with hardware from Oberheim, ARP, EMS, Roland and Yamaha (to name but a few).
“Malcolm Cecil and TONTO's Expanding Head Band or the brilliant Tomita and Snowflakes are Dancing. Stevie Wonder used TONTO on most of Innervisions I think. Vangelis's Heaven and Hell or Blade Runner. I saw Kraftwerk on their Autobahn tour, real pioneering stuff. Did I mention Keith Emerson?” (Thanks, bbcoz)
"Have you seen the TONTO synth!?" (From Dave via email, thanks)