Lab Work CD  

Lab Work

Lab Work

Dave Hartl: Lab Work

After diving into the world of virtual synths in the computer, I wanted to do a project that would really stretch the limits of the new technology, much like the "Gaijin" albums had done for me in the '90's. So I took two years of steady work and came up with an album that was never meant to be played live but was reared in the studio; hence, "Lab Work." Virtual synths had provided textures indistinguishable to my ears from the vintage equipment I had grown up, and made them accessible, trouble-free, and fun. I wanted to feature the old sounds in an all new way. The textures and independent lines that make up these tunes would need the services of a computerized setup to ever play live, either that or about 5 keyboardists a la Gino Vanelli. So there were no live gigs to promote this project.

All tunes were written by me except for "Speak No Evil" by Wayne Shorter.


Batboy

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: Chapman Stick, MIDI guitar, synths:

  • Arturia Minimoog V (lead)
  • Arturia Moog Modular V (opening burble)
  • Korg Legacy Cell (lead)
  • Native Instruments FM7 (electric pianos, growl on bridge, bat sounds)
  • Propellerheads Reason (Rhodes on solos)
  • Spectrasonics Stylus RMX (drums)
  • Steinberg Plex (comps on heads)
  • Waldorf PPG Wave 2.V (comps on heads)
  • Waldorf Microwave Xt (MIDI Guitar on heads)
  • Raw Deal: sample on bridge (from the CD Encoded; Click here for more details)


This tune arrived to me as I was lying in bed, getting short snippets of sleep but getting awakened every couple minutes. Every time I woke up I had another few measures playing in my head. Finally, I went downstairs and wrote the head down and then slept soundly. The next morning I found the chart on the piano and couldn't remember writing it, so this was really like getting a gift. On the top of the scrawled chart was "Batboy", so I guess that's the title. This was recorded by Raw Deal for their second CD, so I took the long-chord section and used it as a background sample in this version. I did a lot of sound design for the original recording, but didn't use it; here I include the Bat Effects as originally heard.

Molasses Dragon

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: piano, guitar, synths:

  • ARP 2600V (Intro FX)
  • Arturia CS-80V (7/8 pads, solo harmony)
  • G-Force ImpOscar (solo)
  • Kurzweil PC2 (organ)
  • Waldorf Microwave Xt (solo)

Masahiro Fujioka: soprano and tenor saxes

Ken Pendergast: electric bass

Joe Nero: drums


Written to be played by the "Where's One?" Ensemble in the spring of 2005. This was a student ensemble I was coaching exploring weird rhythm concepts. Recorded at Turtle Studios, 7/11/06. Two takes were made, we used the 2nd take, the rhythm section is live with no overdubs. Fujioka-san blows his Tokyo soulfulness groove via the internet, Ken Pendergast gets to play as much as he wants, and Joe Nero holds the whole thing together. Click here to download the transcription of the synth solo and hear it here:

**Click to hear**

Bushwhacked

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: Chapman Stick, MIDI guitar, synths:

  • Antares kantos (on samples of George W. Bush, Porky Pig, and Richard Nixon)
  • Camel Audio Cameleon CA5000 (MIDI guitar)
  • Kurzweil PC2 (organ)
  • Spectrasonics Stylus RMX (drums)
  • Propellerheads Reason (Rhodes)

Masahiro Fujioka: soprano and tenor saxes


Conceived as a funkier electric-Miles kind of tune, structure was given by a 2-chord bridge and the insertion of samples that came to me off the Internet. These Bush samples are just what was at hand, transformed into melodies by Antares kantos software. Porky Pig and Richard Nixon also seemed to beg for inclusion, inspired by Bush's remarks. This tune was the first experiment in transcontinental web recording for me. A rough RMX/Stick/Rhodes track with samples were posted to Masahiro Fujioka in Tokyo, who added his parts. Originally, I planned to re-do the piano part to accommodate his ideas, but Masahiro's playing was so on the money that the temp track stayed and the writing really just evolved off of an 8-bar phrase and basic chord roadmap. Fujioka-san did all the sax electronic effects as well.

Interlude #1: It's All For Sale

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: synths:

  • Arturia ARP2600V (Bubbling arpeggios)
  • Arturia Minimoog V (bass, melody 1)
  • E-mu Morpheus (chords)
  • Native Instruments FM7 (melodies)
  • Oberheim XPander (chords)
  • Propellerheads Reason (electric piano and clavinet)
  • Spectrasonics Stylus RMX (drums)

Michael Goepfert: auctioneer


Yes, this is based on a DAT recording I made at Mike Goepfert's auction house one sunny fall afternoon. The recording is not time-shifted at all. I merely tapped in a tempo map to the auctioneer's performance, added drums and textures, and let it roar. The tune was originally called "Kimona Mona" and was recorded on a Portastudio in Ocean City around 1986. Coming after "Bushwhacked", it shows my ever-growing suspicion that everyone on earth is a commodity to sell in the eyes of the powers that be.

Never the Time

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: Chapman Stick, accordion, chromatic harmonica, synths:

  • Arturia CS-80V (pad)
  • Camel Audio Cameleon CA5000(pad)
  • Waldorf Microwave (pad)
  • Kurzweil K2000RS (acoustic guitar)


Another tune that came out fully formed and unquestionable. Made me very suspicious that I subconsciously copped this from something I heard long ago, so I boreassed all my friends for a month playing this thing and asking, "J'ever hear that before?" I finally accepted that it was really my own. Recording it has proven troublesome in that the groove never felt right. Raw Deal did a good version, but somehow this was still looking for its home. This version took a left turn in search of a solution and ended up getting rid of the drums and giving the lead of the A section to the accordion and the B section to the harmonica. I like the unresolved key center feel; somehow this melody modulates a half-step but is real sneaky about it. It's the way time passes and has a way of sneaking up on you so you end up in a different place than you began.

Click here to see the lead sheet for the tune.

Interlude #2: Roger Wilco

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: chromatic harmonica, theremin, synths:

  • Camel Audio Cameleon CA5000 (melody)
  • E-mu Audity 2000 (texture)
  • G-Force impOscar (textures)
  • Kurzweil K2000RS: Tibetan Monk sample from Spectrasonics' "Heart of Asia, vol.1"
  • Waldorf Q (melody)

Wilco Botermans: source of theremin samples (from his CD "Theretology")


I met Wilco Botermans at the First Etherwave Music Festival in Asheville, NC in August 2005. He wrung amazing sounds out of an Etherwave Pro theremin and a host of Moogerfooger effect pedals and gave me a CD called "Theretology". I took a sample from the CD, shifted the pitch and found it fit beautifully in this little interlude. My own theremin parts were the hardest part of this whole album project! The Tibetan monks you hear on the fade just helped complete the worldwide circle on this.

Monkish Uncle

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: piano, synths:

  • Yamaha FS1R (Rhodes)
  • Kurzweil K2000R (vibes)
  • Arturia MinimoogV (1st head lead)

Masahiro Fujioka: alto sax

Ken Pendergast: acoustic bass

Joe Nero: drums


Written at the Independence Brew Pub in Philly while waiting for a late-night train. It's another "Rhythm" variation and an obvious Monk idea, even quoting him on the 2nd ending. The half-time/double-time idea is a cop from "Brilliant Corners". Recorded at Turtle Studios, 7/11/06.

Interlude #3: Tornado for David Lynch

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: synths:

  • Arturia Moog Modular V (melody on pt. I, bass on pt.II)
  • Arturia CS-80V (chords and harmony melody on pt.II)
  • Emu Morpheus (bass and metal counterline on pt.II)
  • Emu Planet Earth (metal counterline on pt. II)
  • Korg Wavestation SR (melody on pt.II)
  • Kurzweil PC88 (triggered by Oberheim Cyclone) (piano)
  • Kurzweil K2000R (bells and Take 6 samples on pt.II)
  • Native Instruments FM7 (melody (2 instances) and harmony melody on pt.II)
  • Spectrasonics Stylus RMX with Backbeat refill (drums)
  • Waldorf Q (melody on pt. I)
  • Yamaha FS1R (radio waves, chords on pt.II)

Wilco Botermans: theremin


This is a long, frustrating siege of a composition stretching over a 12-year period. Originally, the piano was generated by the Oberheim Cyclone arpeggiator, using a 2-zone setting and driving the tempo with a foot pedal, recording into Performer on 3/17/95. It sat inert waiting for "what now?" until 1/12/00, when it was chopped up and expanded into a 7:12-long piece by 1/15/00 with 3 sections and a vaguely ABA texture. Here it sat for another 4 years, experimented with and prodded occasionally. In July 2004 I added the weird melodies over the piano parts using various synths and effect pedals and MIDI guitar as well as cleaning up the Zappaesque bridge. Finally, in November 2006 I did major surgery on it and pared it down to the version here on the CD. It's an experiment in letting the technology dictate musical content and responding to it; I discovered I like being in control more since life is too short to spend it arguing with a machine.

The whole thing seemed like the mood and technique I get from Lynch's films, so I dedicated it to him. It took him 5 years to make "Eraserhead", after all! In the Twin Peaks DVD set, the actors describe how Lynch allows mistakes and chance occurrences on the set to dictate the content of the final show, so there is a connection that way as well. Wilco Botermans reappears on the theremin at the end for textures.

Just to show how complex this process can get, click here to see a screen shot of the Digital Performer file that produced the track.

Pennies from Hell

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: Chapman Stick, guitar, synths:

  • Arturia CS-80V (lead 3)
  • Arturia Moog Modular V (counterline in bass)
  • G-Force impOscar (lead 2)
  • Kurzweil PC2 (organ)
  • Propellerhead Reason (Electric pianos)
  • Spectrasonics Stylus RMX (drums)
  • Waldorf Microwave (lead 1)
  • Waldorf Microwave Xt (lead blend)


Based on the old Pennies from Heaven, I wrote this tune several years ago to plague Bill Z, who would howl like a dog when I played this. Originally a jazz-quartet kind of thing that I never actually did play out other than in class, it morphed into a more fragmented, funkier form while working with the synths and RMX. I liked the idea of a synth "sax" section with individual, different instruments. The 3rd ensemble chorus harmonization was written while on jury duty in Norristown PA, waiting to get called to serve on a murder trial involving cocaine and an exotic dancer; my obsession with the little dots on paper helped extricate me from jury duty (too eccentric for the defense lawyer to trust, I guess).

Reaching for the Light

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: piano, synths:

  • Oberheim OB8 (pads)
  • Oberheim XPander (pads)
  • Waldorf Microwave Xt (bass notes)
  • Waldorf Q (pads, string lines, arpeggios)
  • Arturia Moog Modular V (melody)


This one is a result of teaching sophomore Jazz Theory and its discussions of composing modally, and the dark-to-light traits of the modes. This was conceived as a piano solo with synth overdubs for texture, and moving from a very dark mode to a lighter one, and finally to a very light one. Once composed, a D.S. seemed to be needed, so in reaching for the light in this tune we actually fall back to the darkness of the first mode. I try not to worry about this. Recorded at Turtle Studios, 7/11/06 with one take only.

Interlude #4: Tellin' the Truth

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: Chapman Stick, MIDI guitar (1st half), synths:

  • G-Force Oddity (bass)
  • Kurzweil K2000RS: (Mellotron Archives samples)
  • Spectrasonics Stylus RMX (drums)
  • Waldorf Q (guitar synth wash)

George Tucker: guitar (2nd half)


After my friend George Tucker passed away in the spring of 2003, I went to his home and raided his computer for his files he was working on. This tune sprang from a guitar audio file I found there and hopefully recaptures how he and I worked on original tunes every day while living in Ocean City, New Jersey from 1981-1985. That's George on the anthemic chorus in the 2nd half of the tune with the main theme. I wrote and performed the rest as a framework around it. I played the solo on the first half with George's guitar, so we finally got to do a guitar duet of sorts.

Speak No Elevevil

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: piano


This is an 11/4 version of the Wayne Shorter tune "Speak No Evil" that I've loved for a long time. I believe Wayne Shorter is the best jazz composer alive and finally did a cover version of one of his pieces.

Screaming Infant

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: piano, Chapman Stick, MIDI guitar, synths:

  • Arturia Moog Modular V (lead)
  • Camel Audio Cameleon CA5000 (string line)
  • Korg Legacy Cell (lead)
  • Waldorf Microwave Xt (guitar synth)

Ken Pendergast: acoustic bass

Joe Nero: drums


I got on the train at Penn Station, NYC, to go back to Philly late one afternoon. About 5 rows up a woman sat down on the crowded train and found she had to store her carrier and hold the baby she had with her. The infant proceeded to scream without letup for almost 2 hours, often appearing to suspend the need for breath, a miraculous performance. But I was intent in writing down a 5/4 call-and-answer "Softly" variation that was playing in my head despite the cacophony. When I got off in Philly, the baby was still screaming, the woman appeared to be looking for a dumpster, and the other passengers were glaring, but I came away with a tune I liked and a title to commemorate the circumstances.

Requiem for Rick

I: Hindemithy

**Click to hear**

II: For Gil Davis

**Click to hear**

III: Farewell

**Click to hear**

Dave Hartl: piano, Chapman Stick, synths:

  • Kurzweil K2000RS (samples from Sampleheads's "Living Drums" with Peter Erskine, orchestral instruments)
  • Waldorf Microwave Xt (arpeggios on end)
  • Yamaha FS1R (voice pads, plucks)

Dennis Wasko: trumpet & fluegelhorn


I wrote this piece in the winter of '99-'00 as a remembrance of Philadelphia trumpeter and musician Rick Kerber. It was my honor to perform with Rick over the years and share a friendship that ended with his passing from cancer in 1999. We shared a common heritage, growing up German in a town where all our friends seemed to be Italian, although Rick's heritage was much keener than mine since he was one generation closer to the old country than I was. We also shared a background of classical training turned to the service of jazz and a work schedule that included many theater shows and teaching at the University of the Arts.

When it came time to try to sum up my relationship with Rick and remember him in a tribute, I returned to our discussions about music we used to have and decided to try to put a trumpet solo into the styles of two musicians that showed the variety of influences Rick had in his playing: Paul Hindemith and Miles Davis. Hindemith was a very German modern classical influence and had a body of work including sonatas for all the major instruments with piano that served as a working model for the first movement of this Requiem. The second movement tries to capture some of the chromatic color of Gil Evans's arrangements for Miles Davis. Where Gil used a big band with augmented instrumentation, my joke on Rick is to do the whole thing with synthesizers, something he would have given me grief about. The last movement uses the melodic themes of the first two movements in a minor mode to pay a sad farewell to a beautiful and funny soul who was taken too soon.

Dennis Wasko does an incredible job with a very technically demanding chart. His cleanness, improvisational ideas, and gorgeous tone are a testament to his own great talents, but also echo the fine performances Rick himself gave. We hope that the performances of the two of us are worthy of the standard that Rick Kerber set, and hope that the listener can feel the spirit we felt from him. Rick was a great teacher who touched a lot of young players' lives; if this piece helps carry on his memory and legacy, we were successful.

Recording engineer: Steve Goodsell

Thanks to Marc Dicciani and the School of Music for support and for letting us record there in MARS.

Updated December 9, 2016.

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