The Residents, Nels Cline (Wilco), Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Devo), and Iva Bittová are just a few of the artists performing on the first collaborative album, Psychic, from composer and producer Dren McDonald’s polyheDren project. McDonald spent the 90s running Vaccination Records Co. while playing in a few San Francisco Bay Area bands. He eventually wound up writing music for film, TV, and many video games including Counterstrike Global Offensive (Valve), Ghost Recon Commander (Ubisoft) and Cooking Dash (GLU Mobile). He released The String Arcade, a collection of video game music arranged for string quartet, in 2014, and his music can also be heard in the Facebook Sound Collection used by millions of video creators every month. This new full length is a shared musical vision that lies somewhere between funk, electronic, post-rock and world music with each guest artist revealing an unexpected performance to each track.
“This polyheDren recording began with the desire to collaborate with other musicians as the pandemic kept us all at home,” says McDonald. “It seemed like a unique opportunity to try to work with musicians I had never worked with before.” While he had collaborated with The Residents many times in the past, it had never been with music; rather, he’d helped design limited edition releases and tour merchandise, stage managed, and performed on stage with them as a costumed glob of human jello! While The Residents remain anonymous (50 years since their inception), they don’t tend to collaborate with too many other artists. Freese, too, is no stranger to creating musical oddities, as he’s also been a consistent collaborator with weirdos including the Replacements as well as the likes of Danny Elfman, Guns N’ Roses, and Weezer. The song “Lonely Lullaby,” was written specifically for Iva Bittová – an artist treasured by both McDonald and his daughter – to sing. Cline, who McDonald knows from the former’s stint curating shows at LA’s Alligator Lounge in the 90s, has a longstanding reputation for completely putting himself creatively into any project that he takes part in, and his work with polyheDren is no exception. The record also includes contributions from Sangin’ Sara Williams (Ledisi, Michael Franti/Spearhead, Stevie Wonder), Daria Novo, Rini Raghavan, Moorea Dickason (Raze the Maze, MoeTar); Ali Paris (Alicia Keys); and Misha Khalikulov (Rupa and the April Fishes). As with The String Arcade, 100% of the streaming/sales revenue from the release will go directly to the Bay Area Music Project, an after school music education non-profit that brings music lessons to children who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
Recommended Tracks: 2,3,5,9
Label: Bay Area Music Project
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