Dren McDonald

COMPOSER PRODUCER INSTRUMENTALIST

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The PTEROUS album is out now!

PTEROUS the full length album has just been released by Appearing Records.The album, Pterous, is a collection of 'orchestral' guitar instrumentals. Each piece is played entirely by McDonald, as he layered hundreds and hundreds of tracks of guitars (electric and acoustic), steel strings, nylon strings, ukulele, baritone guitars, fretless bass, and mixed in Dolby Atmos (Apple Spatial Audio) available on AppleMusic or Tidal. The album cover (as well as each of the pre-release singles) was created by artist, Christine MacTernan.Pterous is available now at the following platforms:
Bandcamp | AppleMusic | Spotify | Amazon Music | Tidal


A Mescaform Hill Music Story

A Mescaform Hill Music Story is a new approach to a soundtrack recording, just released by Appearing Records.Rather than release a series of short cues for this VR animation, where the tracks might be jumbled out of sequence and played out of context with playlists in random. So this is a 17 minute long, single piece of audio with all of the cues and sounds from the VR animation. The score features a live string quintet, African vocalists, fretless banjo, and modular synthesis.A Mescaform Hill Music Story is available now at the following platforms:
AppleMusic | Spotify | Amazon Music | Tidal


The CouterStrike Global Offensive Masterminds Box Set is out!

Masterminds is the full set of music from the CounterStrike Global Offensive Masterminds Music Kit and it's now available in one collection on all streaming services..The album contains three pieces from Dren's Gunman Taco Truck Soundtrack (which were edited for use in CS:GO ) and also contains some mixed up genres from composers Matt Levine, Austin Wintory, Ben Bromfield, Tree Adams, Sam Marshall, and Tim Huling. CS:GO is the MOST PLAYED game on Steam, and literally millions of players have been listening to this music since the kit was introduced in 2020. Masterminds CS:GO is available now at the following platforms: on AppleMusic or Tidal.
Spotify | Amazon Music | YouTube


Dren's previous release, polyheDren was released in April '22 with guests, The Residents, Josh Freese (Foo Fighters, NIN, Sting), Nels Cline (Wilco), Iva Bittová (Nonesuch, ECM Records) and more!


Quotes about Dren's work

"The score, composed by Dren McDonald, adds measurably to the experience..." - BoingBoing review of Gathering Sky"A journey into new territory..." - PopMatters review of The String Arcade"This is one of those examples where The String Arcade takes a theme from a game and makes it better! 5/5 Stars" - Examiner on The String Arcade"Dren's soundtrack for Dangerous Dave hit the target perfectly - 80s chip tune references within a modern hillbilly sound that's bent towards the kind of diversity that games demand in their music." - John Romero (game designer, Dangerous Dave, Doom, Quake)

Music

dren mcdonald | Pterous

Pterous is the full length album of 'guitar orchestra' pieces, just released (2023) by Appearing Records.Pterous is available now at the following platforms:
Bandcamp | AppleMusic | Spotify | Amazon Music | Tidal

polyheDren | PSYCHIC

polyheDren is a collaboration project, and the 1st album, Psychic, includes a list of great guest artists that collaborated with Dren such as The Residents, Nels Cline (Wilco), **Josh Freese **(NIN, Sting, Devo, Danny Elfman), Ivá Bittova(Nonesuch), Rini, and many more. 100% of the sales/streaming from this record goes to Bay Area Music Project, a non-profit after school music program.

Gunman Taco Truck Original Soundtrack

Gunman Taco Truck is an original score for the hit video game featuring Mariachi music from a dystopian future where maybe a good microphone, a tuba, or a guitarrón is not easy to come by (due to the accidental explosion of a few nuclear bombs). It features fantastic trumpets, violins, drums, percussion and lots of guitars (acoustic, baritone, electrics etc). This soundtrack is also featured as a music kit for Valve's CounterStrike Global Offensive.

Dangerous Dave in the Deserted Pirate Hideout Original Soundtrack

A hybrid of bluegrass/country and chip tunes that we call "chipbilly", this is the soundtrack to John Romero's (Doom/Quake) classic game, but the high definition remake. The original was released in the late 80s and was one of the most popular PC shareware games in history. In 2014 it was re-released on iOS/Android.

Gathering Sky Original Soundtrack

This award winning game (and soundtrack) features a live chamber ensemble score combined with ambient synth textures. The video game is special in that there is no scoring, no language, no dying or winning...it's simply an experience.

The String Arcade

Classic video game music arranged for string quartet! There are tunes from Galaga, Minecraft, Plants Vs. Zombies, Legend of Zelda, Ecco the Dolphin, Portal 2, Sonic and more. There are a few original pieces from Dren in here as well. 100% of the proceeds from this release goes to Bay Area Music Project a non-profit after school music project.

About

Dren has made many different impressions throughout his musical adventure. From touring and releasing records with Giant Ant Farm in the 90s, founding Vaccination Records Co, to working with artists like The Residents, Nels Cline & Ivá Bittova, composing/sound designing for over 75 video games, scoring for film, TV, VR/AR and theme parks up to his current releases; his approach to sonic creativity is driven by curiosity. Visit the Nerdtracks site for details on his interactive music and audio work.

Dren performing at The Residents Secret 50th Annivesary show in San Francisco, 2023 w/ Josh Freese and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Ensemble - photo: Josh Keppel

Always creating and experimenting with new instruments, arrangements, musical structures and collaborators , new music and sounds are always being recorded from his studio.

Video

J2 (or J squared when there's no subscript available) is the last piece on PTEROUS, a series of 'guitar orchestra' compositions. Illustrations by Christine MacTernan (taken from her cover art for the album and singles), still photography and videography by Maddox McDonald.

D, Pt. 1 is the 2nd piece in the PTEROUS series of 'guitar orchestra' compositions and this is the music video, illustrations by Christine MacTernan.

Mescaform Hill: The Missing Five, is a VR animated story from Edward Madojemu that Dren audio directed and also composed the score. It’s part of 2022’s Tribeca Immersive Festival.. Mescaform Hill can also be viewed as a 2D experience (no longer locked to a VR headset) and you can watch it in your browser here.

16 Gold Candles is the song that Dren collaborated on with The Residents and Josh Freese for the full length polyheDren release, Psychic. The release is a fundraiser for Bay Area Music Project, with all sales going to support music education for children who can’t afford music lessons.

Lonely Lullaby is the song that Dren collaborated on with Czech musician, Ivá Bittova. It includes background vocals from Zoe Ellis and Ashling Cole, plus the saxophones of Kevin Robinson. This is the lyrics video for that tune.

Fingerprints is a short documentary about a music collaboration between a group of kids in Haiti and a group of kids in Alameda, CA. Dren scored this short documentary and arranged/produced the finished songs.

The launch trailer for the game/experience "Gathering Sky"

Music video for polyheDren's Buckaroo Moon song featuring Sangin' Sara Williams (Ledesi) and Daria Novo on vocals.

Music video for polyheDren's Planted A Flower song featuring Ali Paris (Alicia Keys) and Misha Khalikulov.

Music video for polyheDren's Film Stars song featuring Moorea Dickason and Daria Novo on vocals.

Music video for polyheDren's Tethys Express song featuring Rini on vocals.

Contact

You can drop a message to Dren here or add him on the twitters/Instagrams etc