Thollem McDonas is one of the preeminent improvisers in the music world today, and one of the most tireless. He has spent the majority of his adult life on the road, performing live or holding composition workshops or simply making a racket of some form or other with musicians both well- and little-known. Along the way, he has amassed an inspiring discography of live and live-in-studio recordings.
We’re featuring Keyngdrum Overdrive, one of his most recent releases, here on the blog today not only because it is damn amazing, but also due to its local connections. It is being made available digitally via former Portland imprint Union Pole Records, and it features McDonas on electric piano collaborating with a variety of drummers that includes hometown heroes like Heather Treadway, John Niekrasz, and Lisa Schonberg.
If the sound of a rhythm section pared down to its most blazing and enveloping parts wasn’t enough to convince you to download, keep in mind that all proceeds from the sale of this new record will go to benefit The Hylaeus Project. Here’s how it is described on Thollem’s website:
Drummer/artist/writer Lisa Schonberg spent a month in the summer of 2013 with artist Aidan Koch in Hawaii working on a multimedia documentation of the rare native Hawaiian Hylaeus and their habitats.
The 60 species of Hylaeus bees are the only bees that are native to Hawaii. Their habitat is increasingly rare, and several species have been petitioned to be listed as endangered species. Lisa and Aidan’s fieldwork have been collected in a book, The Hylaeus Project. Lisa also composed new works based on soundscapes in Hylaeus habitats for her percussion ensemble Secret Drum Band, and a recording will be released in 2014.