- The British artist was best known for co-designing TONTO, the world's largest synthesizer.
Influential synth maker Malcolm Cecil has died.
The Bob Moog Foundation reported Cecil's death today, March 28th, from an unspecified "long illness." Cecil was an important and influential figure in the world of synthesizers, co-designing The Original New Timbral Orchestra (TONTO) synthesizer with Robert Margouleff. TONTO eventually became the largest synthesizer in the world, made up of several modules from Moog, ARP, Oberheim, Serge, Roland, Yamaha and other synth manufacturers.
The TONTO synthesizer was most famously used by Stevie Wonder on his classic albums Music Of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions and Fulfillingness' First Finale, on which Cecil and Margouleff were credited as producers. They later won a Grammy for their work on Innervisions. TONTO was also used by producers and artists like Quincy Jones, James Taylor, Billy Preston and The Isley Brothers.
Margouleff and Cecil also had their own group called Tonto's Exploding Head Band, which released two albums in the early '70s.
Cecil took over full control of TONTO in the late '70s, and eventually sold it to the National Music Centre in Calgary in 2013, where it was refurbished in 2018 and is now available for tours and use by artists. More info on the restoration is available here.
Listen to Tonto's Expanding Head Band's Zero Time, the album that made Stevie Wonder want to work with Cecil.