Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Tonto
Its About Time


Released 1974 on Polydor
Reviewed by gogmagog, 08/02/2006ce


Winding my way through the Homerically-proportioned Book of Seth I noticed contained within the outro to his great review of Tonto's Expanding Head Band's pioneering "Zero Time" LP his belief that they never released any other material other than the mid-70 Reissue of Zero Time on vinyl.
I think some of the confusion may sten from the two names - the full Tonto's Expanding Head Band and just Tonto - they appear in various encyclopedias under both sometimes. Seth Man's review stretches back to 2001, so I'm pretty sure he's been made aware of their 1974 LP on Polydor "Its About Time." But I thought, since this LP contains such a trance-inducing piece of brilliance as the "Pyramid Suite," that a full review of this hardly-mentioned record was over due.

Again, as on Zero-Time, all compositions are performed on T.O.N.T.O (the Original New Timbral Orchestra). Its worth starting this review with its most domineering and impressive piece which IMHO is Side 2's full-side Pyramid Suite: The Pharoah's Journey from death to Life.

Opening with Part 1: The Boatman - an alpine, Trans-Euro Kraftwerkian aesthetic prevails - crystal clear synth arpeggios ovulate while a serene flute-like top line whistles above is a meisterstroke. For similar vibes, one's in mind of "Austria's-own-Mike-Oldfield" Gandalf's late-seventies work, or indeed Mike Oldfield - or Germany's Tyndall, but with mor eflow - less rigid. Part Two Building the Pyramid is more Atem-sounding and the next piece Journey To the West sounds like the beginning of Peter Gabriel's sublimely creepy Moribund the Burgermeister, the side finishes in "Zero-Time" mood with some slightly more funky wah-moogs and a mid-period Cluster jauntiness, that still manages to sound melancholy and elegiac. A faster-paced Bird Flies Free closes the side and LP, and brings to mind some of the more gonzo-zaniness taht pervaded Zero Time.

Side One's "Beautiful You" could be a speeded up early-seventies Stevie Wonder instruMENTAL jam but Side One doesn't keep the quality up and the next track Tonto's Travels is just lower-case average electronica. The last track doesn't help, getting all Pomp and Circumstance on our collective asses, coming on like "Switched on Bach" was a worthy endeavour. It wasn't in my opinion, but this LP is worth it for Side Two alone. ANyone know if these TWo lp's do indeed amount to Tonto's full vinyl output????


Reviews Index