Japanese Morgan's Portrait


morgan fisher
Born London, England, January 1st 1950
1968-72: Played Hammond organ with The Love Affair (#1 hit in U.K. "Everlasting Love"). Created electronic music for London’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Formed classical rock band Morgan with Tim Staffell (original Queen singer). Co-produced debut album by world-famous fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth.

1973-77: Joined the Third Ear Band for a brief period (an avant-garde acoustic band who made the music for Roman Polanski’s film of "Macbeth"). Then joined Mott the Hoople, produced by David Bowie. Toured the U.S. and were the first rock band to perform for a week on Broadway (Uris Theatre). No.2 hit in U.K. "All the Young Dudes" plus several top ten hits. Mott later became British Lions with the addition of singer John Fiddler from Medicine Head, and released two albums. Guest appearances with many artists including Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, The Dead Kennedy’s, Mike Harrison (Spooky Tooth).

1978-80: Set up Pipe Music, an independent studio and record label in London. Released "Slow Music" (ambient album), "Hybrid Kids" (art-punk album) and "Miniatures" (51 one-minute tracks by Robert Fripp, Robert Wyatt, Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, members of The Flying Lizards, The Pretenders, XTC, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, The Damned and other artists). Guest appearances with many artists including John Otway, Neil Innes.

1981-84: Played keyboards on Queen’s 1982 tour of Europe, then travelled in India, Europe and USA.

1985-88: Moved to Japan and built The Handmade Studio. Recorded ambient albums ("Look at Life", "Inside Satie", "Water Music", "Flow Overflow", "Life Under The Floor", "Peace in the Heart of the City") and music for art videos, films and television.

1989: Performed at Heian Shrine for the 1200th anniversary of Kyoto City. Played with Japanese dancer Kisanuki Kuniko. Abstract photograph exhibition at Nippon Telephone Company.

1990: Performed at Expo 90 (Osaka), Tenkawa Jinja (Shinto shrine), Tsubosakadera (Buddhist temple) and Kobe City Museum. Recorded album "Echoes of Lennon" with guest Yoko Ono.

1991: Appeared in Honda T.V. commercial and Comme des Garçons Tokyo fashion show. Played with Japanese bands Dip in the Pool (techno), Tensaw (rock) and Okinawan singer Kina Shoukichi.

1992: Recorded "Relax", "Refresh" and "Recharge" (the "Re-Series": ambient/polyrhythmic music). Created the sound track for animated film "The Apfel Land Story". Performed music from "Twin Peaks" with Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra, Julee Cruise (who sang on the original "Twin Peaks" soundtrack) and Yasuaki Shimizu (sax). Wrote and performed world music for the Nicole fashion company in Paris and Tokyo.

1993: Performed with major Japanese band The Boom, and toured China with Yasuaki Shimizu, Aska Kaneko (vln), Ryu Hon Jin (China/traditional flutes) and Wasis Diop (Senegal/voc).

1994: Played at Hitachi International Symposium and at a London charity concert tribute to the late Mick Ronson with Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), Roger Taylor (Queen), Roger Daltrey (The Who) and Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones). Composed music for the 4th International Whale and Dolphin Conference and for an installation at the Tokyo Gas Building. Recorded "Rebalance", 4th in the "Re-Series", with Mamadou Doumbia (ex-Salif Keita band). Co-produced and played on "Far East Samba" album by The Boom and performed on their Japan tour.

1995: Reworked the first two "Re-Series" albums with Japanese musicians (singer Sizzle Ohtaka and violinist Aska Kaneko). Continuing performances with The Boom. Wrote and published "Far East Tour Diary", a book about their tour. Performance at the 2nd Japan Mick Ronson Memorial Concert. Recorded with Japanese artists Sayoko (reggae) and Homeless Heart (rock). Music for CD-ROM "Cats In The Sun".

1996: Worked with The Boom ("Tropicalism-0" album, tours of Japan/Brazil). Produced "Moth Poet Hotel", a Mott the Hoople tribute album with major Japanese bands such as Yellow Monkey, Heat Wave, High Lows, plus Brian May (Queen). Reworked "Recharge" album with trumpeter Isao Osada and Andy Bevan (Australia/sax). Recorded/performed with Heat Wave.

1997: Started work on "Miniatures 2" (60-track sequel to "Miniatures"). Several tracks were mixed by Mick Glossop (producer of Van Morrison and engineer for Frank Zappa, Mott and British Lions). Performed at MIDEM and Montreux Jazz Festival with The Boom. Co-wrote/co-produced/played on Heat Wave album. Performed with singer Nanaco Sato. CD re-issue of "Water Music".

1998: Created ambient remix for Sizzle Ohtaka. Released a compilation album of his own music: "Echoes of a City Life" & an ambient album, "Flower Music". Recorded "Home" , an album with Sizzle Ohtaka and Hamza-El-Din (well-known musician from Sudan who has worked with The Grateful Dead, Terry Riley, The Kronos Quartet). CD re-issues of "Inside Satie", "Flow Overflow". Music for CD-ROM "The Skies Of Biei".

1999: Released "Remix" (radical remixes of excerpts from the "Re-Series"). Performed on album by The Minus 5 (spin-off group featuring Peter Buck of REM). Ambient arrangement of "Air on a G string" for Norwegian jazz diva Karin Krog.

2000: Released "Miniatures 2". A remix for The Minus 5.

2001: Soundtrack for DVD animation film "Traja". Composed TV commercial songs featuring Keiko Lee and Zap Mama and remixed them for single release.

2002: Joined Futon Logic, a new art/music performance unit featuring Sizzle Ohtaka (voice performer), Etsuko Takezawa (koto, shamisen, sho), Bruce Osborn (photos, video), Kozo Chiba (computer graphics). Arranged one song for Japanese folk singer Mimori Yusa. Performed on new album by Tim Staffell.

2003: Performed in Tokyo with Jane Siberry. Performed at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art with Futon Logic. Performed at Meiji-Jingu Shrine with Sizzle Ohtaka. Solo concert and video presentation at Superdeluxe, Tokyo. "Minox Memoriam" photograph exhibition and solo concert at Uplink Gallery, Tokyo.

2004: Monthly "Morgan’s Organ" solo concerts at Superdeluxe, Tokyo, featuring Morgan’s photos and videos. Guest musicians include Samm Bennett (percussion, electronics) and Ino Nobuyoshi (one of Japan’s finest jazz bassists).

2005: The monthly "Morgan’s Organ" solo improvisation concerts at Superdeluxe continue. All are being recorded for future release. Performed and recorded with Kokoo (featuring shakuhachi master Akikazu Nakamura and koto virtuoso Michiyo Yagi). More recordings with The Minus 5. Released collaboration album with Hans Joachim Roedelius (formerly of Cluster). CD re-issues of three albums: “Nova Solis” (1972), "Seasons" (1983) and "Look At Life" (1984). Collaborated on "Tenma" album by jazz drummer Osami Mizuno.

2006: The monthly "Morgan’s Organ" solo improvisation concerts at Superdeluxe continue. Performed with The Minus 5 and Robyn Hitchcock. Composed music for "A Zen Life", Michael Goldberg's documentary film on D. T. Suzuki, the renowned Zen scholar. Recorded tracks for three Japanese compilation albums of ambient/electronic music - see the News Page (September 26, 2006) for details,

2007: The year started with a month-long exhibition of Morgan's Light Paintings at Superdeluxe. Another exhibition and performance at Cool Train Gallery, Tokyo. The monthly "Morgan’s Organ" solo improvisation concerts at Superdeluxe continue. Arranged and sang on a Soft Machine track for the Delta Saxophone Quartet, England's leading contemporary saxophone quartet.

2008: Started the long process of making the "Morgan's Organ" live recordings available as downloads on iTunes, Amazon, etc. This will continue for some years.

2009: Second Light Painting exhibition at Superdeluxe, Tokyo. Recorded three tracks for the Yellow Monkey tribute album. Played on a new album by Dave Sinclair of Caravan. Several articles in Keyboard Magazine (Japan edition) featuring instruments from Morgan's keyboard collection. "Backtracks & Abstracts" photograph exhibition at the Troubadour Gallery, London. MTH-MTK ("Mott the Hoople - Meet the Keyboards") event in London (together with Blue Weaver, Mick Bolton and John Fiddler) to tie in with Mott's 40th anniversary.

2010: Two more Light Painting exhibitions, including one at Gallery Cosmos, Tokyo. Self-release of first art/music DVD, "The Light Painter." DVD featured in iotaCenter abstract video showcase (Los Angeles) and website. Started the Miniatures blog.

2011: Digital release of "The Great White Obi" on Refuge Records. More light painting exhibitions in Tokyo, art show and concerts in Carmel, California in October. Declared honorary Member of JSPA (Japan Synthesizer Programmers' Association) - a status previously granted to Ryuichi Sakamoto and Isao Tomita.

1987-present: TV Commercial music ~ American Express, Compaq, Japan Air Lines, Japan Railways, Kanebo Cosmetics, Kao Cosmetics, Keisei Skyliner (received JAM 1998 silver medal award), Matsushita, Maxell, Menard Cosmetics, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, NHK, Nissan, NTT, Olympus, Onward Fashions, Panasonic, Qantas, Ricoh, Rover, Seiko, Shiseido, Sony, Unisys, Volkswagen Golf, etc.

Photograph credits (from top): Sam Fisher / Unknown fairground artist / David Wedgbury / Gary Merrin / Unknown / Julia Bennett Studios, London / Miki Hasui / Shin Jinushi / Unknown / Unknown.

Afterword: Morgan's great-grandfather, Frederick Morgan (1847-1927), was a well-known painter and exhibited at London's Royal Academy. His paintings are still used on a variety of greetings cards and posters; several may be seen at the Art Renewal Centre). Morgan feels a great affinity with Fred as one of the few other members of his family with artistic inclinations. The last two photographs here, taken one hundred years apart (Morgan dressed up for the cover of the German edition of his "Inside Satie" CD), show that there's quite a family resemblance!