Click here to see all of the reviews for The String Arcade!
Video Game Tribute Album The String Arcade Now Available as Digital Download and CD.
All proceeds will support Alameda Music Project after-school program for underserved children
ALAMEDA, Calif. - February 11, 2014 - San Francisco Bay Area composer Dren McDonald is announcing the release of The String Arcade, a recording of classic video game music reimagined for string quartet. The crowdfunded album sells for $9.99 as a digital download from Loudr, iTunes, and other channels. In addition, BandCamp offers a $11.99 CD version and free streaming.
All profits will be donated to the Alameda Music Project, a tuition-free afterschool program that provides intensive classical music instruction to underserved children in grades K-5. The String Arcade is a carefully curated collection of video game music, arranged for string quartet by Dren McDonald (Ghost Recon Commander, Ravenwood Fair) and Jason Poss (Lord of the Ringsfilm trilogy, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King).
Some tracks use a "collage" approach, slicing up and combining various themes from within a game into one piece of music while staying true to the original melody and harmony. Others are more loosely interpreted and embellished to showcase the quartet performers' strengths. The result is an introspective listening experience that stands on its own regardless of the listener's familiarity with the source material. "I've never understood why someone would cover a song by playing it exactly like the original artist played it," McDonald says of The String Arcade's unique arrangements. "A lot of thought went into choosing music that would work as an experience from top to bottom. As a point of reference, The String Arcade will probably appeal to people who enjoyed the soundtracks from games like Sword & Sworcery, Dear Esther, or Fez."
The String Arcade's 15 original arrangements (plus 2 CD bonus tracks) were inspired by games from Galaga to Minecraft and performed by local Bay Area musicians, with a special appearance by the Boston-based Videri String Quartet. The eclectic track list spans decades of video game history from stand-up arcade classics, through the 8- and 16-bit eras and the golden age of 1990s adventures, to more recent hits, indie favorites, and mobile/social games. To further the goal of raising money and awareness for children's music education, several tracks were chosen from games popular among kids including Portal 2, The Legend of Zelda, and Plants vs. Zombies.
"This is one of those examples where "The String Arcade" takes a theme from a game and makes it better."
"...what we have here is a collection of music that can be enjoyed by anybody; regardless of whether or not they’re familiar with the games or, indeed, with any games at all. You’ll be listening to these pieces time and time again."
"McDonald pulls off a masterful structure that shows off exactly how a handful of talented musicians can transform a simple game track into a classically arranged ensemble piece."
"An incredible album which further helps legitimize how culturally significant and artistic video game music has become!"
Tommy Tallarico, Executive Producer/Host Video Games Live
"Dren takes the essence of these great game songs and transforms them into the classical style. The result is a new way of looking at these songs in a different light, and in a soothing manner.”
John Romero (game developer, Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, Ravenwood Fair)
Links to purchase:
Bandcamp (get the physical CD there and the download - CD includes bonus tracks)