Canadian, New York-based sax player-composer Anna Webber came across a YouTube test channel called WebDriver Torso while she composed music for her Simple Trio’s album «Binary» (Skirl, 2016). This channel produced strange ten second-long videos, each of which consisted of a series of high pitches coupled with images of red and blue rectangles flashing across the screen. «Binary» was written based on such strange things on the internet – Webber’s IP address, random binary digit generators, and memes as source material. The mysterious WebDriver Torso channel seemed to Webber as a perfect concept for a new album and she began to write a series of compositions titled «Rectangles», that employed the pitches from a few Webdriver Torso videos.
«Rectangles 3» the 35-minutes and only composition of «Rectangles», consists of a number of single measure loops and appeared on «Binary» as three very short pieces. Weber founded a new band dedicated to playing set-length versions of «Rectangles 3» (including the brief piece titled «Rectangles 3a», lasting only one minute and 37 seconds), featuring pianist Marc Hannaford, double bass player Adam Hopkins, and drummer Mark Ferber. «Rectangles 3» was recorded live in Queens in December 2019 at Marc Hannaford’s Zoom, with no intention to release this slightly rough version, highlighting the energy and the spontaneity of the quartet. Out Of Your Head Records’ Untamed, digital-only, Bandcamp releases, focus on exactly such recordings, giving all proceeds in the time of COVID-19 directly to the artists.
«Rectangles 3» is structured around a cyclical melodic-rhythmic pattern, introduced by Webber and slowly expanded by drummer Ferber, pianist Hannaford, and double bass player Hopkins. Later, the quartet deconstructs and reconstructs this melodic-rhythmic cycle, again and again, suggesting layered variations in a manner that brings to mind the enigmatic compositions of Tim Berne where the composed, melodic parts integrate perfectly with the free-improvised segments. Hannaford, Hopkins, and Ferber suggest their own distinct interpretations of this melodic-rhythmic cycle, all correspond closely with Webber and eventually all lock into a tight and powerful groove. Bu then, this quartet begins to structure this cycle anew, first in a more sparse and open manner and soon return to the arresting, playful interplay.
Anna Webber (ts), Marc Hannaford (p), Adam Hopkins (b), Mark Ferber (dr)