Dave Heffner | The Corner

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The Corner

by Dave Heffner

Debut, fully original, electronic album by songwriter-producer, with a mix of melodies, lyrics, and instrumentals, in a unique blend of jazz, blues, ballads, rock, and electronica. Several guest musicians perform.
Genre: Electronic: Electronica
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ari's Song
4:19 $0.99
2. Walk
3:53 $0.99
3. Comfort
4:22 $0.99
4. From the Corner
4:05 $0.99
5. Blues Etude in C Minor
3:48 $0.99
6. Get Out the Junk
4:55 $0.99
7. I Can't Stop Loving You
4:04 $0.99
8. I Would Miss You
4:01 $0.99
9. The Test
3:24 $0.99
10. Job Blues
4:51 $0.99
11. Complaints
4:35 $0.99
12. Ode to Shostakovich
3:46 $0.99
13. Little One
3:35 $0.99
14. Control
3:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
THE CORNER ALBUM - All songs are written and produced by Dave Heffner. All instrument parts are played by Dave unless noted below. The title of the album is representative of some dramatic changes in my life and a new beginning with music. As a whole, the album genre is electronica, although specific songs range from blues to classical. The creative process often begins with an inspiring chord sequence, sometimes followed by lyrics. Using Pro Tools, virtual instruments, and a keyboard controller, the other tracks are built to form a song. Very few samples are used, with most sounds individually programmed. Frequently, guest musicians have laid a track to a song, sometimes given a score and sometimes left to improvise. Final mixing and audio processing was done by Dave and the results sent to Disc Makers for mastering.

ARI’S SONG (Anna Rader - Vocals, Sophia Sprunger - Solo Violin, Janet Heffner - Backup vocals, Dave Heffner - Lyrics) This pop-style ballad was the first to use a software synthesizer from Germany and it is reflected in some of the arpeggios that inspired the whole song. The lyrics came as naturally as any I have written. The vocal harmonies are some of my favorite.

WALK (Anna Rader - Vocals/harmony, Janet Heffner - Backup vocals, Janet and Dave Heffner - Lyrics) The simple woodblock percussion inspired this ballad and reminded me of walking, which was developed into lyrics with the help of Janet. This is one of a couple songs where Anna sings harmony with herself. The music is supported by some of my favorite string arrangements and a basic piano chording.

COMFORT (Anna Rader - Lyrics and Vocals, Len Cagle - Tenor saxophone) European electronic dance music inspired this song, which is actually two parts. This track introduces local professor and jazz player Len Cagle on the saxophone. Once he is given general musical direction, he does great improvisation. The high pitch bell sound at the beginning is a Japanese Koto, which I really like and incorporate on several songs. A fun note on the lyric, “Music is a copy of the will,” is from the 19th philosopher Schopenhauer, who had some interesting things to say about music.

FROM THE CORNER (Anna Rader - Vocals, Janet and Dave Heffner - Lyrics) This ballad piece is the namesake of the album. I spent many an hour in the corner in school, but in a reverse way, only became more independent. Also represented is the significant turns in my life, most recently leading to writing music. Anna sings multiple tracks, giving a nice airy effect. This was the first recording I experimented with filter gates for a repeating effect.

BLUES ETUDE IN C MINOR (Len Cagle - Tenor saxophone, Anna - vocals) A two verse/chorus instrumental, I attempted to use a more classical Gershwin blues style. The first part has me playing a full 88 keyboard, followed by part two with Len improving on saxophone. I believe we could have easily improvised much longer than the 4 minutes devoted to this blues number. Strings are used sparingly in the background, as well as Anna singing softly near the end.

GET OUT THE JUNK (Len Cagle - Tenor saxophone) Although I classified this as electronic, the inspiration was from jazz fusion music I played some time ago. The saxophone part was ranged from clearly defined early, but greatly improved at the end. There is a lot of electronics going on in the piece with 24 tracks of instruments, arpeggiators, and samples, many of which show up in a big ending. This is my first composition to use the technique called Wobble on the bass giving it audio movement by varying the low frequency oscillator. Used frequently in “Dubstep” although the rhythm is based on contemporary D&B (drum and bass genre). I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the frequent use of “cowbell.” :-)

I CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU (Anna Rader - Vocals/harmony, Dave Heffner - Lyrics) Not quite fast enough at 120 bpm to be called “Dance,” but possibly in the new style called “NuDisco.” The German software synthesizer Hybrid 3 is used liberally on a dozen tracks. I enjoy programming this synth with arpeggios, sequences, filters, etc. The musical core revolves around a “Trance” track in the treble clef. Most of the vocals are mirrored with a lead synthesizer and a touch of strings in the classic disco style. The lyrics are dedicated to my wife Janet.

I WOULD MISS YOU (Len Cagle - Tenor saxophone) Len does a great job in this soulful “Smooth Jazz” number and is perhaps my favorite sax piece. I lead with a big synth sound, playing over a rhythmic piano track and background strings. The drum track is a classic 50 bpm “Rhythm and Blues” beat. The saxophone plays over the synth on the first chorus, but takes the lead in the second verse through the rest of the song.

THE TEST (Anna Rader - Vocals, Dave Heffner - Lyrics) Anna demonstrates the determination in her voice that the lyrics are meant to represent; i.e., personal fights against challenges in life, in particular, chronic illnesses. Musically, a classic B3 organ sound stands out, especially with me playing an extended organ solo in the bridge between verse one and two. The bass was emphasized in the mix more than usual to carry the momentum of this “pop” ballad, rather than the drums.

JOB BLUES (Anna Rader - Vocals, Len Cagle - Tenor saxophone, Janet and Dave Heffner - Lyrics) The lyrics in this classic Jazz Blues number are meant to poke fun at the frustrations of an unhappy job. I believe the “blues” feeling is captured by the musicians with plenty of improvisation happening. Some may be surprised to know that the guitar solo after the second verse is actually me on a synthesizer. The snare on the drum beat is kept mostly on the off beat to keep the swing going and the organ is a classic B3 in a supporting chord role.

COMPLAINTS (Chris Kulp - Guitar) This progressive rock piece combines Chris on the lead and power guitar along with a half dozen synthesizer tracks. The lead guitar plays a repeating theme throughout the song. A 150 bpm driving heavy metal drum set drives the fast pace with E minor chording by the supporting tracks. My favorite synth program is the low bass modulation in the second half that I call T Rex, which carries the melody for a while. I believe the tracks capture the song title.

ODE TO SHOSTAKOVICH (Len Cagle - Tenor Saxophone) I once read comments by composer Dmitri Shostakovich that he liked to explore the sounds of dissonant notes, such as C and C# played together. I explored this with playing chords in fifths above and below C and C#, which grew into this classical-style composition. Even the Timpani are tuned to C and C#. The modern nature of the piece allows for Len on the tenor saxophone to blend in and to add harmonic runs in the later part. The challenging piano track is the backbone of the composition, with the other tracks, such as strings, giving support. This is also the first time I programmed so many rhythmic changes, of over a dozen changes, ranging from 80 bpm to 220 bpm.

LITTLE ONE (Margaret Abbott - Violin) This was first written as a lullaby for piano, but after exploring the melody with counterpoint and variations, evolved into a violin piece. The style is part classical with a folk flavor, which Margaret does a nice job of expressing both elements with her violin performance. Supporting her violin, are a marimba and synthesizer track. The merits of the drum track were discussed and finally included to add movement. This piece is dedicated to the “little ones” in our lives who mix the sweetness of their presence with constant movement.

CONTROL (Anna Rader - Vocals and Lyrics) As the lyrics state, “the world goes round” and we’re not going to stop it, so make the best of things allowing music to help along the way.
Filled with synthesizer tracks that sequence, loop, and arpeggiate, with minimal drums This is an electronic ballad, if there is such a style with a traditional verse and chorus form. The song and album end quietly, looking to the future.



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