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The American Composers
 
  The Tommy Tallarico  
 
Tommy Tallarico is a veritable video game industry icon. As one of the most successful video game composers in history, he has helped revolutionize the gaming world, creating unique audio landscapes that enhance the video gaming experience. As a well-recognized on-air television personality, Tommy brings his in-depth knowledge, years of experience, and love of multimedia and video games to the masses.
   

An accomplished musician, Tallarico has been writing music for video games for more than 15 years. In 1994, he founded Tommy Tallarico Studios, the multimedia industry’s largest audio production house. In video games, television, film, radio, soundtracks, toys and even on floats in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, Tallarico’s music has been heard by hundreds of millions of people around the world. In 2002 Tallarico’s music was used as the opening song for Aerosmith’s “Girls of Summer” world tour. His top titles include The Terminator, Earthworm Jim, Disney’s Aladdin, Cool Spot, Metroid Prime, Maximo, Tomorrow Never Dies, Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Spider-Man as well as top selling popular game franchises such as Madden Football, Blitz Football, Pac-Man, Knockout Kings, Unreal, Mortal Kombat, Twisted Metal & Time Crisis. Tommy recently finished designing the audio for the multi-channel DTS theatrical trailer logo appearing soon in movie theaters and homes across the world... (continued on tallarico.com)

Mazedude's Comments: Bizarrely enough, I think the Tallarico soundtracks that stood out most to me as a kid were Prince of Persia, Cool Spot, and Clayfighter. I never really played Earthworm Jim all that much, although I was aware of it. Anyways, I got the chance to meet Tommy at a G.A.N.G. Party in L.A, and it was pretty cool. Once he started taking me around the room, introducing me to everyone as "Mazedude," I knew I was in with some good people. He's a cool dude. And his house is freakin' sweet too. Methinks I was the only one that used the pool though, for the one party I went to there...

 
 
  The Jack Wall  
 
Having established himself over the past few years as one of the prime movers of the videogame music industry, Jack Wall has built a track record and an international reputation as an A-List composer and music producer in the interactive entertainment sector. He also brings an unmatched depth of experience, credibility and knowledge in the production of records, working with mainstream artists and major label artists.
   

His work spans full-length albums, live concert recordings, videogame soundtracks, film soundtracks and other projects that demand an exacting ear and vast library of musical and technical knowledge and know-how... (continued on jackwall.net)

Mazedude's Comments: I also got the chance to meet Jack at the G.A.N.G. party, as well as other events around L.A. When Mustin first mentioned him to me as a potential candidate for the American Album, I honestly didn't know who he was... so I went and bought the Myst 3: Exile album. I was blown away. The way this guy can fully utilize an orchestra, choir, world instruments, electronics and more... it's just amazing. And he's a very nice guy too.

 
 
  The George Alistair Sanger, aka The Fat Man  
 
The Fat Man, George Alistair Sanger, has been creating music and other audio for games since 1983. He is internationally recognized for having contributed to the atmosphere of over 200 games, including such sound-barrier-breaking greats as Loom, Wing Commander I and II, The 7th Guest I and II, NASCAR Racing, Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, and ATF. He wrote the first General MIDI soundtrack for a game, the first direct-to-MIDI live recording of musicians, the first redbook soundtrack included with the game as a separate disk, the first music for a game that was considered a "work of art," and the first soundtrack that was considered a selling point for the game.
   

On a 380-acre ranch on the Guadalupe River, The Fat Man hosts the annual Texas Interactive Music Conference and BBQ (Project Bar-B-Q), the computer/music industry's most prestigious and influential conference. One of his current projects, GamePlayMusic, is aimed at redefining the business and creative models of music for games, to benefit users, developers, and musicians alike... (continued on fatman.com)

Mazedude's Comments: Now I haven't had a chance to meet the guy, but I'd sure like to; his music for the 7th Guest is one of the first ever game soundtracks that really grabbed me. I'd play the game, then go over to the piano and try to figure out the notes to the music I was just listening to. That, and he wrote the music to the game "Shannara," based on the novels by Terry Brooks, my favorite author. Interesting connection there.

 
 
  The Jeremy Soule  
 
A critically acclaimed composer and musician, Jeremy Soule heads Artistry Entertainment, a distinguished leader in music production for the interactive entertainment industry. According to 2002 figures furnished by www.NPD.com, Artistry Entertainment is the most distributed provider of original "film-quality" music for the games industry. This accomplishment includes over ten major releases and as many as six top-sellers composed for five of the world's largest publishers.
   

Jeremy's award-winning, orchestral soundtracks have elevated the standard of music in the interactive entertainment industry to a level previously limited to the motion picture genre. His dynamic compositions reveal a natural ability to create powerful and engaging music using both fine instruments as well as an unsurpassed, proprietary library of synthesizers that successfully emulates the sound and feel of a 100-piece orchestra. Soule's creativity, technological expertise and cutting-edge approach to composition has placed him at the top of the composer A-list in the entertainment software industry, and his work has been applauded time and time again by some of the world's most prominent music and entertainment industry professionals... (continued on jeremysoule.com)

Mazedude's Comments: Heck, even back in the SNES days this guy was making movie-quality music - just listen to the Secret of Evermore soundtrack! I highly recommend this guy's music if you're into the whole symphonic thing; I am from time to time, and it was an honor delving into just a taste of it for this tribute. Good work dude.

 


 
  The Peter McConnell  
 

Peter Mc has composed music for games and interactive media for over 15 years, including nearly a decade as Sound Development Supervisor at LucasArts Entertainment. His credits span numerous titles from LucasArts, Sony, EA and others and include the scores to Psychonauts (Majesco, 2005) and Sly II: Band of Thieves (Sony, 2004) as well as the award-winning score and CD soundtrack for LucasArts' Grim Fandango. With its eclectic mix of sounds, prominently featuring original works for small jazz ensemble, the music of Grim Fandango has won both critical and popular acclaim.

   

Peter's command of instrumental styles includes classic film underscoring ranging from the epic to the whimsical, swing jazz, ambient, industrial and roots rock. Among his influences are Bernard Herrmann, Raymond Scott, Carl Stalling, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Zappa, Enio Morricone and Danny Elfman... (continued on petermc.com)

Mazedude's Comments: I freakin' LOVE this guy's music. Ever since playing Day of the Tentacle back in my youth, I was hooked. The way this guy can write so many styles, with such rich chord and chromatic structures, and still be catchy and fitting to the game... it really wakes one up to the power and potential of music. In fact, it was the music to Grim Fandango that I heard before I ever played the game, and it was directly because of the coolness of the soundtrack that I went and got it... and loved it.

 
 
  The Alexander Brandon  
 

Alexander Brandon has been working in the game industry for over ten years, starting with Epic Games in 1994. He has written music for games such as "Unreal", "Unreal Tournament", "Deus Ex", and "Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows". He has written the book "Audio for Games: Planning, Process and Production", is the columnist for Game Developer magazine's audio column, and is on the board of directors of the Game Audio Network Guild.

   

Mazedude's Comments: Okay, I gotta admit, the real reason I wanted to tribute Alexander is because he was one of my favorite trackers, back in the Scene days. He went by the name "Siren" then, and was a true inspiration to little Mazedude... back before I was any good. You can find a few of his older tracks on Hornet.org - "Carpe Diem" is by far my favorite. Years later, it still gives me chills.

 
 
  The Robyn Miller  
 

Robyn is the composer behind the moods of Myst, Riven, and others in the series.

Originally the games weren't designed to have any music at all. Legend has it that the first theme they wrote for Myst was just for kicks, to see if it would make the game any better. To everyone's surprise, it instantly took the game environment to a whole new level... and then suddenly Robyn was forced to compose an entire soundtrack. And then another one.

   

Mazedude's Comments: I can't very well tribute the music to Myst 3 without going back in time to Myst 1 and 2, now can I? And besides - just like many others on this tribute, those are decidedly landmark games, setting new standards and paving the way for the future. The music is no exception. It established the grounds for ambient music in games; how subtle weavings of melodies and themes into a very quiet world could elevate the games to a whole new level, without the listener even being consciously aware that there was music playing. Good stuff. Tricky to remix, but a challenge I enjoyed.

 
 
  The Joe McDermott  
 

Joe McDermott has been a member of Team Fat (led my George Sanger the Fat Man) for several years, starting off with a stunning Zombies Ate My Neighbors debut, and later helping George with such titles as Putt Putt Saves the Zoo, Shannara, and more.

   

Mazedude's Comments: It's funny, the first time I ever played Zombies Ate My Neighbors was at Mustin's house, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I loved it... and the music too. Good job Joe.

 
 
  The Robert Prince  
 

Robert Prince is best known as the composer to the classic first-person-shooters by ID Software: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom 1 and 2, Duke Nukem 3D, and more. While simple, and at many times based off of a simple blues riff, the music always fit the games to a T, and has been loved by millions.

   

Mazedude's Comments: Last but not least, eh? Everyone knows I'm a big fan of this guy's music. Again, the games he scored were landmark, paving the way for hundreds and hundreds of clones. I don't know how many hours I spent playing Wolfenstein and Doom 2, but man, years later those games still stand alone as the best in the genre. And the music! It's dark, it's catchy, it's simple; the potential it creates for killer remixage is unmatched, and so much fun to play with.


The Others

Yes, I know there are many great American Composers that I left out. Michael Land, Michael Giacchino, Clint Bajakian, Bill Brown, Frank Klepacki, Jake Kaufman and others - please accept my apologies. I only had so much room on the album. Perhaps I can tribute you in Volume 2, if you would like.

 
 
-Mazedude