The Music of Jeff Harrington


Steve Layton: Different Light, Same Window

Steve Layton performs/realizes DeltaBandResonator for Piano

"Different Light, Same Window" is a collection of work by the Seattle composer Steve Layton, all of it realized in 2004. In addition to his own compositions, Layton has included a performance of the 2003 Beethoven-meets-Bayou piano epic "DeltaBandresonator" by Brooklyn composer Jeff Harrington (b.1955).

The music is unafraid of unsual forms and biting harmony, yet there is always a strong connection with all that's gone before; a sense of that the dead never really die, but are just us (and we them) displaced by a few years.

Every part of the performances and recording are all realized directly by Layton himself, using a technique that makes score, performance and recording a single entity.

Steve Layton (ASCAP) was born in 1956 in Pasco, Washington. Long working out of Seattle, his music is played and listened to worldwide, and has often been used in film, video and dance.

Nowhere Left to Go

Duo Ahlert und Schwab perform Erg for Mandolin and Guitar

Now available online in the US!
Nowhere Left to Go - Amazon US

Nowhere Left to Go - Qualiton Imports

Nowhere Left to Go -

Nowhere Left to Go -

From their website:

A big part of our work is the co-operation with composers in order to constantly grow the repertoire for mandolin and guitar. Within the three years after our first recording Chilli con Tango with contemporary music we could already enthuse more than twenty further composers from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South-America and the USA about our duo. The result has surpassed our expectations: music of highest quality with a tremendously broad spectrum of styles. This recording represents a cross-section of the music that has been written for us during the last three years.

The Composer Plays III: Works for Imaginary Piano

Steve Layton performs/realizes BlueStrider for Piano

The Composer Plays III: Works for Imaginary Piano

Continuing his exploration of composition and performance with "virtual" piano, Seattle-based composer Steve Layton (b. 1956) offers the third in his series of "The Composer Plays" CDs. For the first time in the series, in addition to his own works Layton here performs compositions by two other excellent composers: New Yorker Jeff Harrington (b. 1955), and the late master Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001).

Harrington's "BlueStrider" is a pounding monster of a piece, with the drama and contrapuntal skill of Beethoven and Stravinsky married with Harrington's own New Orleans barrel-house-blues roots. Obsessive riffs weave their way through both iron-clad logic and exuberance.


Espace, my 2nd complete electronic album, has been released gratis and online. A collection of slow, sometimes brooding works, often employing granular resynthesis and time warping of timbres. Espace features orchestra time-warping (Eroica Spettrale, Kin Hin) and Wendy Carlos glass harmonica organs (Lamentation Siderales and Lachrimae Crystallinum). The popular piece, Espace des Cloches, for Csound, uses a rapturous DX7-derived gong that resonates into deep space. AgnusDeiWave uses formant synthesis/resynthesis of gregorian chant to create a choral space of lament. High Noon uses a physically modelled shakuhachi in deep resonant space to explore virtuosic gestures.

Stream All Tracks - 256 Bitrate - Broadband Only!

Complete Tracks:

Complete Tracks:
Espace des Cloches - 3:30
Eroica Spettrale - 7:38
Kin Hin - 4:10
Arctogæal - 3:10
Echoi - 2:21
AgnusDeiWave - 9:10
Lamentation Sidérales - 17:43
Lachrimae Crystallinum - 4:53
High Noon - 5:13


Four song EP from 2003. Transcension uses subtle beats over a funk bass with a gothic chorus. A Moist Mirage in Desert Eyes, a protest song against the Iraq war, mixes dub rhythms with constantly shifting artificial vocalisms. Arddha Jangala explores orchestral electronic spaces where the timbres constantly morph. Yes or No is a big beat song with bizarre choruses chanting Yes, No... All songs experimental and bizarre but using a completely original approach to sound, melody and beats.

Transcension, an electronic EP from 2003, has been released gratis and online. Transcension is a suite of 4 works exploring artificial vocalisms and morphing timbres. To some degree, Transcension represents work in the more vernacular electronic vein, as there is ample percussion, and rhythmic tension in each of the pieces.

Stream All Tracks - 256 Bitrate - Broadband Only!

Complete Tracks:

Transcension - 4:21
A Moist Mirage in Desert Eyes - 7:38
Arddha Jangala - 2:38
Yes or No - 3:47


Obliterature, the complete album and cover is now available for download. I'll also be selling real CDR's through CafePress sometime in the near future for those who can't stomach downloading 100MB. Selling it through was not appropriate for this type of experimental music; the number of Preview Listens I was receiving demonstrated that. If you were one of the few people to buy it through please write me and I'll refund you the $3.00.

The complete set of ecstatic improvisations from 1992-1993, Obliterature is an exploration of realtime extravagant sonic spaces with eccentric tunings, both microtonal and just, textures and orchestral climaxes

The album was completely drawn, in realtime with 2 layers for each piece on an Amiga 1000 using MidiLyr, a piece of software that created a large repeating drawable, MIDI surface. No edits, no revisions; the improvisations were selected from hundreds of takes and have been newly remastered with contemporary hi-resolution effects added.

Stream All Tracks - 256 Bitrate - Broadband Only!

Complete Tracks:

Bright and Boundless - 3:05
Turning the Pearl - 4:28
The Conduct of the Moon and Clouds - 3:56
Quarks - 4:02
Abandom - 5:17
Splash - 4:03
Cascade - 3:21
Turning the Pearl II - 5:10
Vols des Fees - 4:05
Vols des Fees II - 3:54
The Obnubilator - 3:30
Obliterature - 10:47

Hallucinogenic Poem - Video Suite from 1989

I've uploaded my video suite from 1989, Hallucinogenic Poem, three short videos improvised to microtonal industrial art rock, that I wrote around the same time. It's rough looking work, but it does evince a kind of DIY artiness that was prevalent at the time.

The video was quite successful for me, playing at a Philadelphia Art Cinema house as part of a festival in 1990 and regularly being featured on Cyberia a national cable access art video program from the time.

The music is layered and harsh microtonal industrial rock done solely from an old Roland Mt32 multi-timbral synthesizer module. The video was improvised using a system I developed with my Amiga 1000 and Photon Paint generating hallucinogenic patterns from simultaneous color-shifting and brush pasting. The video was dumped straight to tape and then duped. These MPG2 files are digitized from the master tape.

Hallucinogenic Poem SVCD

Making the SVCD is easy, grab all the contents of the folder above and burn it to a data disk. Most DVD players can play SVCD these days. Enjoy this taste of madness from 1989.

One warning, if you're prone to epileptic fits do not watch this video as it may bring on a episode due to the intensity of the colors and surprising shifts in texture.