Kurt Harland is a singer, composer, and video game developer/audio engineer. He is best known as the lead singer of Information Society and composer of the soundtracks for the Legacy of Kain video game series.
He was born Kurt Harland Larson, on January 25, 1963 in Minnesota. Son of Paul Larson, Bayfield School Sanitation Engineer. Starting at the age of six, he took piano lessons, and by the end of high school, this had expanded into choral and theatrical singing and stage performing.
During college, he and a high school friend started a recording group they called Information Society, which would become a decades-long involvement with music, electronic audio, and recording/programming.
After living in New York, Vienna, and Minneapolis, Kurt moved to California, where he now resides in San Francisco with his wife, Michelle, and son, Allistair. Kurt is currently the Audio Director at Kixeye in San Francisco, CA.
Kurt Harland Larson began his experience with electronic audio gear and recording in 1982.
Formed in 1982, synthpop band Information Society achieved mainstream success for a while in the late eighties and early nineties. They are most widely known for their 1988 hit single "What's On Your Mind? (Pure Energy)".
In early concerts and albums, Harland was credited under the pseudonym "Kurt Valaquen," Valaquen taken from Tolkien, meaning child of light. After the band had achieved mainstream success, he began using his own middle name as his professional last name.1
After Information Society broke up, Kurt kept the rights to the name of the band and released an album, Don't Be Afraid, in 1997.
A 2004 episode of VH1's Bands Reunited, caused a brief controversy when Kurt Harland refused to appear in an Information Society reunion performance, despite apparently accepting the invitation on-camera by signing a copy of their first album. In an account of the incident written by Harland and available on his website 2, Harland disputes VH1's depiction of the events and his portrayal on the show, claiming that the show was edited to make it look as if he had accepted the invitation and then backed out of it. 3
In 2006, he turned the name back over to Paul Robb and James Cassidy, who reformed the band with a new singer. Harland cited family obligations and a demanding career in not returning full time; he has since been involved nonetheless, performing at a few concerts, and is featured as a vocalist on their most recent album Synthesizer (although he would later rejoin the band full time).
After 11 years as a full-time recording artist, Kurt moved to San Francisco and began his career in video game audio engineering. Over the years he has been involved with eighteen different projects, notably six years with Crystal Dynamics and a stint at Electronic Arts. 4
Harland has worked on the following:
1995: Scooby-Doo Mystery -- Sunsoft, Mega Drive,
1995: X-Men 2: Clone Wars -- Headgames / Sega, Mega Drive,
1995: Ballz -- PF Magic, 3DO,
1995: Nightmare Circus -- Funcom Oslo / Sega, Mega Drive,
1997: Gex: Enter the Gecko -- Crystal Dynamics, PlayStation,
1999: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver -- Crystal Dynamics, PlayStation / Dreamcast / Windows,
2001: Soul Reaver 2 -- Crystal Dynamics, Windows / PlayStation 2,
2003: Whiplash -- Crystal Dynamics, PlayStation 2 / Xbox,
2003: Legacy of Kain: Defiance -- Crystal Dynamics, Windows / PlayStation 2 / Xbox,
2005: The Godfather -- Electronic Arts, PlayStation 2 / Xbox / PC,
2005: Death Jr. - Backbone Entertainment, PSP,
2006: Death Jr. II: Root of Evil - Backbone Entertainment, PSP,
2007: Death Jr. and the Science Fair of Doom - Backbone Entertainment, Nintendo DS,
2011: PlayStation Move Heroes - Nihilistic Software Inc., PlayStation 3 with PlayStation Move,
2012: Resistance: Burning Skies - Nihilistic Software Inc., PlayStation Vita,
Four songs from Information Society's album Don't Be Afraid were also used in video games that had their soundtracks composed by Kurt Harland:
Early versions of "Closing in" and "On The Outside" had been used in the 3DO version of Ballz.,
The instrumental track "Ozar Midrashim" would later be used as the intro theme of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.,
In 1983, with bandmates, Kurt Harland directed the music video for "Fall In Line" by Information Society,5 with a budget of exactly $0.00. In 1987, Harland directed the $10.00 music video for "And So It Goes" by Ex-Sample.6