Wayward in Limbo #106: Steve Layton

Steve Layton is a Seattle composer, performer, recordist, connector, facilitator. Editor of Sequenza21, a long-running website reporting on contemporary classical music. Collaborator at ImprovFriday/Sound-In, a weekly web gathering of musicians from around the globe. Hear more on BandCamp.

March Winds (2021)

As source and basis for the piece, I chose a recording shared online by a person in The Netherlands, “klankbeeld“, thirty minutes of a very strong windstorm (gusts to 60mph) blowing through a crack in their window. They recorded it in March 2019; one March later we began the lockdown; one more March and here we are, having been buffeted, and still in the storm (though maybe with a little light on the horizon?).

I use not only the original wind sound as a “voice” in the work, but also use various software to derive MIDI notes from the variation in the wind’s sound. These notes are then given to other synthesizer patches, so that an entire multi-voiced counterpoint is created. Yet it’s the wind that guides all aspects of the length, shape, notes, and unfolding of the piece.

Near the end I’ve overlaid (and somewhat transformed) a recording of the poet Dorota Czerner reading part of her poem “Cave Nocturne” at the 2017 Subterranean Poetry Festival, recorded by Chris Funkhauser.

With the Chapel closed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wayward Music Series moves from the concert hall to the living room. In place of our usual ten monthly concerts, Nonsequitur is commissioning ten Seattle artists each month to create a series of streaming audio sessions of previously unreleased material.