Mark Morgan (composer)

Mark Morgan ( born October 22, 1961 in Los Angeles, California) is an American composer for computer games, film and television. Particularly well known are his works for Fallout, Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment.


Mark Morgan was born in 1961 as the son of the sculptor and architect Mel Betty Morgan in Los Angeles and grew up in Orange County ( California). At seven, he began at the suggestion of his mother playing the piano. After school, he attended the Berklee School of Music, but the study broke after a few months again and instead pursued a career as a studio and guest musician in the greater Los Angeles area. He played for Rickie Lee Jones and Chaka Khan. In the late 1980s he joined the band Starship ( Jefferson Airplane ), first as a keyboard player for the tour of the album No Protection, then as a full band member. During this period, he moved to San Francisco. For the album Love Among the Canibal's, which was created in the recording studio Record Plant in Sausalito, Morgan took the step from teammates for composers and producers. When the band split up in 1990, he returned to Los Angeles. He ended his career as a touring musician and henceforth worked mainly as a sound programmer and designer and ultimately becoming increasingly common as a composer.

In the 1990s, commissioned works were the main field of activity for the television Morgans. He received his first television commitment for the radio station ABC sci-fi series Prey. When he heard his composition with him sympathetic agent Bob Rice, he hit Morgan before going into the composition for computer games and introduced him to various people in the industry known. His first game was composing the soundtrack to Dark Seed 2, one published in 1995, Adventure. Since it was a pure MIDI soundtrack, Morgan described the work as more distressing to the concept art by HR However Giger (Alien )-based optics of the game inspired him promptly of the visual quality of computer games. Will be followed by several commissions for Interplay Entertainment, including his best-known orders for the post-apocalyptic role-playing games Fallout (1997) and Fallout 2 ( 1998), and Planescape: Torment (1999). His contributions for the still under development, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, however, were then for ten years his latest compositions in the games area. Morgan, who was originally intended as the main composer for the Giants, who work because of other commitments could not finish and was therefore replaced by Jeremy Soule.

He eventually worked again especially for television, until he was asked by former Interplay employees Charles Deenan if he for the racing game Need for Speed: Shift wanted to contribute a few tracks. Shortly thereafter, the composition of the previously unreleased action game Prey 2 was offered to him, which he took along with Jason Graves. In 2010, parts of his Fallout soundtrack for the recent series offshoot Fallout: New Vegas reused. 2012 then joined the former Interplay CEO Brian Fargo approached Morgan if he would take over the composition for Wasteland 2, a continuation of the spiritual predecessor of the Fallout series. Morgan agreed and finally got out of Fargo's inXile Entertainment Company 2013 the contract for the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, which, like Wasteland 2 sponsored by Crowdfunding Torment: Tides of Numenera. With the Adventure game stasis he also successfully applied for the composition of a third Kickstarter -funded project.

Influences and style

Morgan comes from a musical household interested. His mother played piano and even had a musical preference for Erik Satie and Claude Debussy, on the other hand his father for Miles Davis, John Coltrane and the avant-garde jazz. Common to both was also the preference for works by Igor Stravinsky, like Sacre du Printemps or The Firebird. In addition to the musical habits of his parents Morgan described further Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and The Beatles as a major influence on his musical tastes.

Morgan's compositions are predominantly electronic, rare acoustic or orchestral. This preference did less of the music here, but the fascination that triggered the encounter with a modular synthesizer in it. Finally his first steps in the field of electronic music he made to MIDI synthesizers times with the brands Jupiter, PPG, Moog, Oberheim, and Yamaha. Since his experience with the Synclavier Morgan sat also increasingly more on the sequencer.

His decision to enter the game composition described so Morgan, " that the media gave him a great opportunity to explore his idea of ​​a score, which is minimal, immersive and emotionally integrates the player in the game". While arriving at film and television composition on exact timing, to underline situation and emotional dialogues, would offer computer games the composer much more space. As the main influences of his composition work called Morgan the music of Miles Davis, Peter Gabriel, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Trent Reznor and the architectural styles of minimalism and modernity:

" I am moved by the simplicity in architecture modern. With its space and restraint, you can see it all without being detoured or interrupted by things did do not matter. To borrow a quote, ' Subtle enough to not intrude, but bold enough to not become irrelevant. ' That 's kind of my goal. As this Relates to games, I want to effect the player in subliminal ways by keeping them in the moment. "

"I moved the simplicity of modern architecture. With their space and their restraint you can see everything without being distracted or interrupted by things that are meaningless. To borrow a quote. , So as not to be subtle enough not to disturb, but strong enough irrelevant ' That is my goal. With respect to computer games I want to influence the players on a subliminal level, by I hold him in the situation. "

In another context he called additionally Paul Bley, Massive Attack, Kraftwerk, the film composer Clint Mansell, James Newton Howard and John Powell, as well as the avant-garde musician Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda uand Kangding Ray. According to self- representation of his style for each game based on a feeling and an individual mix of minimalism, ambience, Tribal, Ethnic, and a rate determined by the sound design atmosphere. While Planescape: Torment based for example on a continuous, constantly varied theme, it was in Fallout around a dark ambient soundtrack. For Giants: Citizen Kabuto, he wrote again orchestral pieces with a more sober, minimalist sound.

Computer Games (selection)

  • Dark Seed 2 (1995 )
  • Zork Nemesis ( 1995)
  • Shattered Steel ( 1996)
  • Descent 2 (1996 )
  • Zork: The Grand Inquisitor (1997)
  • Fallout (1997)
  • Fallout 2 (1998)
  • Planescape: Torment (1999)
  • Civilization: Call to Power (1999)
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto (2000)
  • Allods Online ( 2009)
  • Need for Speed: Shift (2009)
  • Fallout: New Vegas ( 2010) ( re-used music from Fallout 1 and 2)
  • Wasteland 2 (2014)
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera (2015 )
  • Prey 2 (unknown)

Television ( selection)

  • Prey (1998)
  • One Tree Hill (2003-2012)
  • Hawaii ( 2004)
  • Kojak (2005)
  • Killer Instinct ( 2005)
  • Shark (2006-2008)

Films (selection )

  • Street children (1992 )
  • Prophet 's Game - The power of Death ( 2000)