“...iconoclastic, stylistic potpourri standards of giddy humor, no holds barred soup to nuts and high spirits.”
—ROBERT LEVIN, pianist, musicologist, composer
“Mr. Noland writes as a ‘time traveler’ in styles long abandoned by most composers as well as styles so new as to not have been imagined but by him. This he accomplishes naturally, convincingly, with originality and true passion. His command of all musical languages and his ability to traverse musical time is nothing less than remarkable. Listen!”
—DONALD MARTINO, Pulitzer Prize winning composer
"Tribute to Gary Noland, Composer
By what dim light,
Was I to expect--
Walking down those Berkeley paths,
When all I was told to believe was the
Grunt of weary nakedness buried beneath
The unenlightened night?
Anything . . .
By what dim light,
Was I to expect--
Passing further, south, by those those musical mausoleums,
Built to accommodate our ears, our developing form of sense,
Into which they shoveled “hysterical, bleating wailing,” and other
Mismatched drone of our times,
Was I to expect?
Anything . . . .
And, too, remembering dry, aging lips at podiums, lecturing,
“The Iron Laws of Music History,” their decade’s long utterance of “Rosebud,”
While their former thugs--and other graduate gentry--unleashed,
Knocked the breath out of keyboards and tried
My ability to stay focused, while darting past.
Anything . . .
That was anything but the perceptive and deft notes
That arose as a sonic answer,
Innocent and infinitely powerful,
Filling a small studio tucked further south.
By what dim light,
Was I to expect--
Walking down those Berkeley paths,
Out of the stolid reach of the Berkeley campus:
the tonal nudity, and grace, of Gary Noland’s work?"
—JEFF BRITTING, American composer, playwright, author, and producer; associate producer and composer of the score of the academy-award nominated documentary: Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life; curator of the Ayn Rand Archives at the Ayn Rand Institute
Poem © 2020 by Jeff Britting
“...set in a dizzying harmonic language that loops uncontrollably through a wide-ranging gamut of possible and impossible tonalities ... The general effect is like watching wet paintings of 19th Century musical memorabilia drip into frazzled 21st Century oblivion...”
—ALLEN GIMBEL, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
“Gary Noland is one of the great composers of the 21st century.”
—JACK RUMMEL, KGNU 88.5 FM, Boulder CO —
“...a fleet-fingered, ebullient performer ... bright, witty and engaging.”
—CHRISTIAN CAREY, SPLENDID MAGAZINE
The distinction between music and noise is, I think, perfectly described by Physics.info. “Music and noise are both mixtures of sound waves of different frequencies. The component frequencies of music are discrete, separable and rational, with a discernible dominant frequency. The component frequencies of noise are continuous and random with no discernible dominant frequency.” Hence, the further we delve into dissonant or even atonal music, the more likely it is to be perceived as noise. Ultimately the line between the two is very blurry, and writer Meghan Davis took this concept to task smartly, when she wrote: “Someone nearby is tapping their toe. Is this an irritating noise or a musical sound? As it turns out, the difference depends almost entirely upon the listener.” And that ultimately is the point my friends. The beauty of sound is in the ears of the beholder.
So why this long premise on sonic contrasts? Well, when you engage with the music of an avant-garde composer, and dare I say, sound designer, such as Gary Lloyd Noland, there is no sitting on the fence. You either judge his album, “State-of-the-Art Ear Exercises for Musical Cognoscenti Op. 119”, as ingeniously brilliant, or utter hogwash. If this hard and fast assumption sounds dramatically drastic, well then so does Noland’s classically inspired, post-modern sonic concoctions.
Gary Lloyd Noland, who has received glowing critiques, has a boundless artistic spirit, and a seemingly endless technical and musical ambition. His compositions strive to challenge the listener to cast away conventions, traditions, customs and any formal limitations their musical mindsets may have locked them into. The 18 tracks contained within this album will take you through sounds composed of multiple frequencies that are produced by instruments whose names alone will have your mind twisting into a loop.
Your ears will be teased, stroked, stretched, and surprised, by the featured players – Gary Lloyd Noland and his alter-egos: Orland Doy Glandly, Darnold Olly Yang, Lon Gaylord Dylan, Dolly Gray Landon, and Arnold Day Longly. Even more surprising, are the names of the instrumentation used by the players. Among them, the pandaharmonium, squealharp, googah, unstitched concussion, stench horn, nose cello and toilet brushes.
Now if you’re thinking of, outright dissonant bombast, think again. Because the album is awash with beautiful classical motifs filled with luscious melody and harmony. They’re simply interposed by varying flurries of atonal sounds which most people link to dissonance. If you could imagine an ensemble led by the combined minds of Richard Strauss, Frank Zappa, Brain Eno and Luigi Russolo, you may just have the slightest idea of where Gary Lloyd Noland is going. And that’s practically everywhere.
Even the song titles themselves will make you sit up and take notice: “Murder Hornet Lullaby”, “Vaginavenger Vortex”, “Elevator Mucus”, “Ooly Drooly Grubbles” and “Larcabounger Zizz”, being just a selected few. That being said, Gary Lloyd Noland’s endearing eccentricities only really seem far more subversive to those stuck in the conventions of the mainstream jungle.
Though Noland’s appeal comes from his warped musical sensibilities; most of the melodies and core structures contained within the album are fairly accessible, reflecting an alluring fondness for classical music. It’s just that his arrangements are far more unusual and idiosyncratic than your normal or garden variety of music. The infusion of Noland’s avant-garde sensibility and experimental spirit makes for a fascinating combination, and very much is, what sets him apart everyone else. And I mean, EVERYONE else.
This album is literally packed with ideas and sounds, as Gary Lloyd Noland ventures into a different avenue with every track. The instrumentals have distinctive identities, and they’re extremely palatable in even in their most unusual forms. In 2021, you will definitely find less challenging albums, and maybe even more challenging albums, but you will never find anything quite like “State-of-the-Art Ear Exercises for Musical Cognoscenti Op. 119” anywhere else on this planet…maybe even in the entire universe for that matter!"
“...an unabridged dictionary of rhythmic alliteration and double-speak that single-handedly rivals Gilbert, Sullivan and Orwell...”
—THE HARVARD INDEPENDENT
“Your sense of humor is awesome.”
—LUKAS FOSS, German-born American composer, pianist & conductor
“...distinctive, inventive ... subversive ... You can hardly be indifferent to Noland’s music and so I would urge you to try it.”
—ROGER BLACKBURN, MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL
“...a glenngouldian personality...”
—JOSEPH FENNIMORE, American composer & pianist
“...mind-bending spiraling of focus which is truly breathtaking ... spectacular...”
—CHARLES AMIRKHANIAN, composer, sound poet & radio producer
“I'm amazed at your harmonic skill. Haven't seen or heard anything like it from any one else—except yours truly—certainly not from your generation. It falls somewhere between Strauss and Mahler. Especially like how you are able to slip in and out from the tonal to the atonal—or near atonal...”
—GEORGE ROCHBERG, American composer, Pulitzer Prize finalist
“...court jester to the classical establishment...”
—PAYTON MACDONALD, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
“...florid and juicy...”
—RICHARD BUELL, THE BOSTON GLOBE
“...it proved to be one of the wittiest and wildest performances of new music I’ve encountered ... Teeming with Borroughsian and Joycean punnery ... wry comments on the state of 20th century music composition, and splashes of colorful music from various instruments and objects, this ambitious extravaganza is pretty well indescribable yet well worth experiencing, especially if you bring your sense of humor along.”
—BRETT CAMPBELL, EUGENE WEEKLY
“...an incredible aural web ... a great ostinato of American kitsch. Sul pont never sounded so good.”
—RUSSELL STEINBERG, composer, conductor of the LOS ANGELES YOUTH ORCHESTRA
“...I am bowled over by the expertise of your music: you use certain elements from the 19th century and from jazz, etc., and just at the moment when I am about to say, OK, what else is new?, you do a number of things, such as speeding up, becoming wildly dissonant, modulating to a distant continent, stopping completely and throwing some kind of total surprise ... you seem to know exactly when to do what and how much. I don’t know anybody else who can do it!”
—ANDREW IMBRIE, American composer, Pulitzer Prize finalist
“... remarkable stuff...”
—MAX MORATH, American ragtime pianist, composer, actor & author
“...a loony composer from Oregon...”
—MAX SHEA, WMUA 91.1FM, Amherst, MA
“Like an André Rieu opium dream, Noland’s waltz slowly emerged from a morass of sound, solidified into a lush, decadent, Viennese waltz before dissolving and reforming again and again. Like Bernstein, Noland made great use of the familiar, in this case the easily recognized waltz form, but made it personal, unique...”
—AARON BERENBACH, NORTHWEST REVERB
“...a very complex score, full of witty musical solutions.”
—SANYA SHOILEVSKA, INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF WOMEN COMPOSERS JOURNAL
"Gary, have begun to listen to your music that you sent me. It's a pleasure to listen to music that IS music and is imbued with the classical music tradition--past and present--very effective-bravo----keep doing what you are doing."
—JAMES YANNATOS, Music Director of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra
“Gary Noland is one of those 21st Century composers seeking to forge a new aesthetic based on older models that do not traffic in serialism or minimalism ... Zany waltzes, ragtime riffs, chorales, toccatas, and much else romp and tear through these depictions of superheroes and villains from his ‘chamber novels’; other pieces spoof serial music ... to grand operas ... and Jewish guilt.”
—JACK SULLIVAN, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
—ALEX DUNN, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA
“...It’s a romantic romp, rhythmically robust yet melodically flirting with the nostalgia of cabaret, minus the sleazy diminution of spilled drinks and smelly ashtrays. Its elegance recalls Elgar, and the serious sides, a synthesis of those strange bedfellows Schubert and Ives. Composers hate it when their music reminds you of someone else’s, but writing within a tradition, Noland has incorporated divergent styles that, woven together, work. Cosmopolitan without snobbery, it’s intelligent, pleasurable and convincing.”
—ROCKY LEPLIN, THE BERKELEY VOICE
“...Ihre Musik ist wunderschön, ‘Grande Rag Brillante’ ist ein Meisterwerk; als auch Komponist bin ich voll Neid, dass ich so etwas nicht schreiben kann. Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Erfolg! Ich komponiere schon viele Jahre europäisch tonal und es ist nicht leicht, so zu komponieren in einer Welt, die noch in der atonalen Ideologie denkt. Ich hoffe, Ihr Weg wird leichter...”
—LADISLAV KUPKOVIC, Slovak composer and conductor
"…it is an historical variation set [39 Variations in F Major Op. 98] for piano, a true descendant of the Goldberg and Diabellis, beautifully targeted to an apotheosis of supreme grandeur … a feat that only a few get to achieve … masterpiece!"
—ERNESTO FERRERI, American composer
“...an extraordinary work...”
—GEORGE PLIMPTON, American journalist, writer, literary editor, founder of the Paris Review
“... I ... could hardly believe my ears when I listened to your Venge Art and 24 Postludes for Piano, Op. 72—how magnificent!! I will definitely include most your works in our local shows, especially in the Art Block program SoundSculpture—a program for visual and sonic art ... I listen to all arriving music and [respond] seldom as excited as I did to your music ... Have a terrific 2004. You made mine with your inspiring music, talent and creativity. Thank you.”
—BRITA HEIZMANN, Executive Producer, KAZU, Pacific Grove, CA
“...an absolute gem of a piece...”
—CAITRIONA BOLSTER, KWAX 91.1FM, Eugene, Oregon
“...lots of cleverness, a clearly sophisticated culture and literate intelligence at work and an undoubted talent.”
—JOSEPH FENNIMORE, American composer & pianist
“...Art music certainly needs Noland’s Satie-esque humor.” —BRETT CAMPBELL, EUGENE WEEKLY
“A look at the head-note will alert you to Gary Noland’s very personal way with words. Not for Noland the lures either of Olympian detachment or lower case ‘significance.’ No, Noland is full-on and takes few linguistic prisoners. Similarly with the booklet artwork, Noland’s own, which is an example of crazed Robert Crumb à L’Africaine. And his music is much the same ... This is an elixir brewed of Couperin and Rameau, Scott Joplin, Bach, free funk, free Jazz (Cecil Taylor?), the Fugue, and an unholy alliance of straight sounding neo-classicism and its subsequent assault by the forces of percussive militancy. Noland may actually be a romantic but doesn’t want you to know. His Prelude is baroque-convincing though attended by some sour-ish off notes but he follows it with Serial Lullaby, a synthesiser-rich free funk piece that mocks its own title. Spray Taint gives us assaulted baroque, the percussion blizzards full of jazz offbeat and whoop-bang noises (plus telephone rings and disco inferno). He subjects Ragtime to the same souring procedures as he does to his off-note harpsichord baroque and evokes a drugs fix (in My Babe’s Gone Down To Do Her Glue) with some haywire free form. He writes an American fanfare for the title track and subjects it to anti-Bush assault by bird song and drum blister. His quixotic sense extends to opus numbers—the bowels of Op. 80 are scattered throughout the disc, and to instrumentation as well ... He’s a veritable one-man band of off-kilter influences...”
—JONATHAN WOOLF, MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL
“Beautiful ... imaginative brave new music, which I had the privilege to encounter this summer ... oomph-ful, exciting...”
—DAVID DEL TREDICI, Pulitzer Prize winning composer
“...an enormously talented composer ... Gary Noland is a musician with impeccable taste and a penetrating understanding of modern aesthetics.”
—TERRY WERGELAND, pianist & composer
“One word: monumental!”
—JOSEPH FORD, composer, founder of the DELIAN SOCIETY
“Your music sounds totally insane and is much too long and difficult, but I like it.”
—MARTHA ANNE VERBIT, pianist
“Gary Noland continues to turn out volumes of compositions in classical forms that defy the tradition. Where many composers find contentment in tweaking the forms, Gary twists them mercilessly, goosing the old masters and the warhorses they rode in on. Not surprisingly, many find all this maddeningly wild, but just as many ... wildly entertaining.”
—JACKIE T. GABEL, NORTH PACIFIC MUSIC
“Gary—you continue to be one of the most original of the contributors to ‘The Classical Salon.’ And ‘Effete Stinkopations’ opens one of my ragtime shows.”
—DAVID REFFKIN, KUSF 90.3 FM, University of San Francisco
“...the most virtuosic composer of fugue alive today ... the [Max] Reger of the 21st century.” —IRA BRAUS, pianist, musicologist, Professor of Music, The Hartt School
“Seriously odd classical ... Tongue-in-cheek ... Funny like Satie—zany and irreverent ... the bizarre collage of styles and time-periods is brilliant.”
—ALEX DUNN, KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA
“...a witty melange of styles of music...”
—THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
“For serious collectors of ‘outer-limits ragtime.’”
—DICK ZIMMERMAN, RAG TIMES
“4 OCTOBER 1991: KPFA radio in Berkeley, California, dedicates its newly constructed, two-story broadcast facility at 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way with a live satellite broadcast ... works on the inaugural program, produced and narrated by KPFA Music director Charles Amirkhanian, included ... Grande Rag Brilliant [sic] by Gary NOLAND, a 15-minute rag introducing KPFA’s new Yamaha Disklavier grand piano, featuring fugues, frozen grace-notes to produce tone clusters, and a lengthy passage in which the music modulates up and down a half-tone each measure (“the turntable change of speed effect”)...”
—NICOLAS SLONIMSKY, MUSIC SINCE 1900
“This is the epitome of Dada sound-art! ... Gary—you’re a completely unhinged genius! Please continue in this vein for the sake of us all!”
“...enjoyed listening to your fascinating inventions. In some ways your music is best appreciated by fellow composers who will appreciate and understand the intricate links of theory, style, and history. I particularly like the surprising and humorous modulations of compositional styles.”
—GEORGE PETER TINGLEY, American composer & pianist
“...an enormous rag with humorously sudden and bizarre modulations and shifts. Noland also flexed his compositional muscles with an intricate fugue...”
—JONATHAN RUSSELL, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE
“Gary Noland [’s] ... two-disk collection of postludes and interludes ... is a fully realized tour de force and a major artistic statement. Any fan of classical and contemporary piano music is likely to find something delightful or intriguing in this ambitious collection, but it should find special favor among aficionados of late 19th and early 20th century composers as varied as Strauss, Schoenberg and Satie. From brittle waltzes to restless pantonal excursions to cheeky pastiches, this well-crafted survey showcases Noland’s deep appreciation for—and occasional ironic takeoffs from—the work of the masters, not to mention some thrilling piano playing by the composer himself.”
—BRETT CAMPBELL, EUGENE WEEKLY
“Yo-Yo found the piece very melodic.”
—CRISTIN CANTERBURY, office of cellist Yo-Yo Ma
“Sheer genius!!!! Move over Bach!!!!!”
—ALFRED WATSON, American composer & pianist
“As before, the finale, another excerpt from Noland’s mischievous magnum opus, Venge Art, brought most of the musicians on stage to interject musical accents (often twisted quotes of famous music) while Maddox narrated a satirical monologue that started with the Unabomber’s comments on modern music and proceeded to skewer pedants, ‘cacademic [queerial] composers, [die- heroic] deflections of Hollyweird and Oddway composers,’ and other ripe sausage of pop culture and 20th century music ... funny ... engaging.”
—BRETT CAMPBELL, EUGENE WEEKLY
“Gary Noland is the Richard Strauss of the 21st century”
—GUILLERMO GALINDO, post-Mexican experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist & visual media artist
“Gary Noland is a composer to end all composers ... his attitude is not subtly disestablishmentarian, and you’d better enjoy it ... Some of the sounds are amusing, but the music is sort of deliberately annoying, both in sonority and in mood—deliberately uninspired, almost to the point of inspiration. From Bach to rags to whatever, Noland seems determined to annoy as many people as he can, in an amusing way. He is clearly an angry guy but witty. If the idea of deliberate lack of originality purveyed in an atmosphere of political incorrectness appeals to you, here, in no uncertain terms, it is. Titles such as ‘Spray Taint’, ‘Dog Duo’, and ‘Insurrection of the Office Slaves’ give the mood, while the title tune [‘Royal Oilworks Music’] is the real purpose of the Bush administration, as explained in the notes...”
—DAVID MOORE, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
“Yr work makes me think about music—what it is, why it is what it is and what shd it be? which is the highest praise.” —JOSEPH FENNIMORE, American composer & pianist
“...Frank Zappa kicking Phillip Glass’s ass...”
—BRENT WILLIAMS, Barbati’s Pan, Portland, Oregon
“Composer Gary Noland is possessed of a rich musical imagination, whose technique distills the achievements of Reger, Strauss and Schoenberg but also refracts their post-romantic/expressionist tendencies through the lens of twenty-first century post- modernism, American style. Moreover, he fits Stravinsky’s definition of a great composer: one who doesn’t merely steal, but knows what to steal. This Noland does with a wit and aplomb unique to the music of our time.”
—IRA BRAUS, pianist, musicologist, Professor of Music, The Hartt School
“...Massive ... mammoth...”
—THE EUGENE REGISTER GUARD
“...Superb Improvisation in ‘Teatime in Purgatory’ ... a dramatico-musical event for narrator, piano improviser and pantomimists ... Often challenging, frequently whimsical and consistently intriguing, this novel combination of performance elements simultaneously offers entertainment and food for thought. The commentary, with its sardonic tone, ranged from the petty unraveling of human ties over trivial differences to Kafkaesque depictions of troubled souls in morbid circumstances. At intentional odds with the commentary were quaint, light-hearted and even silly pantomimed events, including the polishing of invisible furniture and toying with colored goop that drip-dangled from performer's fingers. Serving as a constant commentary on the narration (delivered with cogency and flare by actor Opal Louis Nations) were three glazed doughnuts suspended from the front of the podium by strings. Carrots hung by their tops from a curved microphone extension for the duration of the performance. What was most impressive about the event was the piano improvisation of composer Gary Noland ... He proved himself both virtuosic and unassuming at the keyboard, and his improvisation alternately complemented or contrasted with the narration. It was a highly listenable and intelligently crafted blend of modern classicism, neo-romanticism and cabaret.”
—ROCKY LEPLIN, THE BERKELEY VOICE
—ELEONORA BECK, SFORZANDO
“...I believe that Gary Noland's Rags should be immortalized in piano roll form.”
—DICK ZIMMERMAN, RAG TIMES
“I think them all a fine and altogether remarkable accomplishment. With a splendid breadth of musical culture, you have melded diverse references into a unique expressive cohesion. Many minutes of music total, and I was never bored, remaining consistently amused and delighted. It is not unlike yr prose ... Grateful to you for having sent them and for all the mental stimulation and aural pleasure they provided ... The Geist of yr work, Interludes particularly, is presently largely restlessness, with continual abrupt twists and turns: incongruities made congruous by the frequent violence of their juxtapositions and the force of yr personality, which I think you have turned into a language with quite possibly just the right response and vocabulary to most highly represent in art-music our jaded time with its 2 second media cuts, continual technical bombast and generally enervating over stimulation.”
—JOSEPH FENNIMORE, American composer & pianist
“Hi, Gary, ... received the postludes. I love them. I use them all the time on Classical Faire ...You’re the best.”
—JOHNNA ZIMMERMAN, Director of Music, KEDT/KVRT, Corpus Christi, Texas
“...masterpiece! ... We recommend Mr. Noland’s music for anybody who desires the witty and unexpected approach to the Ragtime idiom.”
—L. DOUGLAS HENDERSON, ARTCRAFT STUDIO NEWSLETTER, Wiscasset, Maine
“Right up my alley.”
—JOEL KRUTT, PUSHING THE ENVELOPE, WHUS-FM, Storrs, Connecticut
"… this work's [VALEDICTION for piano, Op. 72, No. 24] fantasy levitates to those dizzy heights where only the finest piano music by the great composers resides. How so? By fearlessly pushing at tonality's boundaries in a hyperlyrical unfolding of linear poetry... the ingratiating decorum and grace of the most intimate salon is present, however-- it is related in a super-compact density of strictest fugue, a feat in itself that occurs only so very rarely, and especially in such sustained flight.…"
—ERNESTO FERRERI, American composer
“...not exactly a ‘potted plant in a hotel lobby,’ Gary Noland’s Venge Art is to classical music what rap is to heavy metal.”
—DAVID DENNISTON, composer, writer
“I’ll never get it up to tempo, but I’d like to try Grande Rag Brillante which I heard on KPFA today ... I loved it...”
—DOROTHY BRYANT, novelist, playwright, winner of the American Book Award
“The most difficult ragtime piece of all time is Gary Noland’s ‘Grande Rag Brillante’ ... The audience needs to have Attention Hyperabundance Disorder. (It’s fine if, like me, your idea of a nice short little piece is a tone poem by Richard Strauss.)”
—MARK LUTTON, pianist
“Milstein, Olson, violinist Casey Bozell and clarinetist Christopher Cox captured the quirky charm of Gary Noland’s engagingly off-center 1994 setting of Jonathan Swift poems, Women Who Cry Apples, the musical equivalent of John Tenniel’s famous
Alice in Wonderland illustrations.”
—BRETT CAMPBELL, OREGON ARTSWATCH
“A stairway to paradise in inflatable shoes! I love it!”
—ANTONIO CELAYA, composer
“I'm fascinated by your variations ... Richard Strauss would have loved it.”
—JED DISTLER, composer, pianist
"…your set [Variations Op. 98] seems to be idiomatic Noland, and stretches to the uttermost limits for all the german school there is a component of serious contemporary harmonic usage … I do know you have got major gifts … Strauss, Claire de Lune, Habanera … imaginative, unflinchingly cerebral, very exhaustive, compressed, a great set inspired by the Diabelli and Goldberg, certainly repertory, the Rzewski has nothing on this … should be played by a major artist a transcendental pinnacle…"
—ERNESTO FERRERI, American composer
“Gary Noland’s admirably concise Trio for flute, viola and cello swerved from late romantic angst to bucolic tango in a deliciously loopy staggering dance, that ultimately reminded me a bit of Ravel’s deconstruction of classic waltzes, La Valse.”
—BRETT CAMPBELL, OREGON ARTSWATCH
“...I got a kick out of the whole package, form the autobiography to the parable [“No Infair” Op. 74] to, of course, your wonderful music! ...”
—TED SOHIER, Host of “Afternoon Classics,” WQED-FM, Pittsburgh, PA
“A masterful piece.”
—ERNESTO FERRERI, composer
“Very beautiful music. Felicitations to the composer ... Greetings from Québec.”
—JEAN CHATILLON, composer
“Gary Noland's cacophonous Café Ritardando was a puckish exercise in musical bedlam. Bits of Mozart and Strauss collided with six soloists, who were cued by the conductor with flash cards to sing their nonsense text like a ‘valley girl,’ or ‘operatic,’ ‘macho’ or with ‘German accent,’ while the audience was instructed to make noises like a chicken, pig or sheep.”
—D.L. GROOVER, HOUSTON PRESS, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
“Gary, I love the CDs ... I think you’re doing fabulous stuff!!”
—CHARLES AMIRKHANIAN, sound poet & radio producer
“...will probably not interest purists who prefer their ragtime undiluted by outside influences and free of modernisms ... Gary Noland's music is complex, technically daunting stuff far beyond the reach of many pianists...”
—BUTCH THOMPSON, THE MISSISSIPPI RAG
“...Series founder, Gary Noland, incorporated children’s toys, like those gadgets you turn over and they sound like a cow’s moo, into a chewy gumbo he called Quaalude, Tabloid & Bug for piano and junk. The odd piece opened and closed in an edgy modern style with Noland tearing at the piano while playing with the toys, yet the gorgeous center section was surprisingly lush and would have found a home in an earlier era.”
—FRED CRAFTS, KUGN’S CRITIC AT LARGE, Eugene, OR
“...He walks with assurance through the treacherous landscape of late tonality and early post-tonality (e.g. Strauss)...”
—PAYTON MACDONALD, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
“GARY NOLAND delivers a feast for thought in banquet-size portions that would take a week-long festival to consume in entirety—a magnum opus beyond comprehension, to be sure, a movable feast for the ear and mind; whatever musical ingredients are at hand get seized and thrown by the bucketful into the stew that is Venge Art; years in the making and many more before fully realized, the concoction is well on its way to attaining mythical stature, not unlike the vat and loaf that multiplied to feed a multitude, seemingly without end”
—JACKIE T. GABEL, NORTH PACIFIC MUSIC
“Gary, you ought to be no less famous than Chic Corea one day! Kick asssss mannn!! ... You and I have a common sense of musical humor, which comes out very well in this septet of yours. It makes me giggly listening to it! ... I dig it, just like everything you do! Perfectly fitting visuals too! ... I hope it gets played in some heavy Bach festival somewhere like Germany someday! I’d like to see some people walking off in the middle of it, disturbed and offended, while others—like me—remaining giddily entertained. Controversy is good for you, you know. After that more people will start checking-out your music! All the great masters have offended the closed-minded throughout the past, as you well know! Father Bach was dismissed as too contrapuntal during the time of his sons, Beethoven and Chopin got criticized for being too dissonant, Rachmaninov's 1st symphony got likened to the “ten plagues of Egypt”! Your place is among them! And your experiment would make great course material, for students to study and come-up with their own experiments along similar lines. It would prove immensely useful, skill-boosting...”
—TC HAKAN ALI TOKER, Turkish composer, pianist
“...Schubert on steroids!”
—LENNY CAVALLARO, American composer, author, pianist
“This shows consummate pianist[ic] and compositional skill. It is not at all easy to do this as well. The result is, of course, a musical collage (by which I don’t mean to trivialize the improvisation), covering music styles from C.P.E. Bach through Mendelssohn...”
—ROBERT MORRIS, Professor of Composition, Eastman School of Music
“This piece is fantastic! Certainly the work of a ‘musician's musician’. The B strain is my favourite part, with its tongue-in-cheek closing phrase that modulates chromatically down to Bb. The rest of the piece develops that device in tremendous and clever ways.”
—MAX KEENLYSIDE, composer, pianist
“Gary Noland is a master of Dadaesque composition ... A delicate balance of incongruity and ridiculousness to tonal beauty engages and captures the listener who will be eager to hear the next phrase.”
“Hats on sideways, ladies and gentlemen: an oddball! Gary Noland is an American pianist/composer of virtuosic skill and humorous outlook. The fifteen keyboard pieces (piano, harpsichord, synthesizer) that fill this 2006 North Pacific CD are melodic, filled with flashes of ragtime and Chopin, vaudeville and Satie. And sometimes they explode into aleatory or acid jazz or salsa, or just collages of blips and yelps. It's especially disconcerting since there are also completely ‘straight’ pieces, like the Bachlike Music is Dead: A Paradox in Fugue. My favorite piece on the CD has to be Ragbones, which starts like a nice, simple rag, then gradually ... grows more slippery until it's changing keys every third bar or so. Marvelous to try to follow. Some other Partchlike titles are Insurrection of the Office Slaves, Psycho-Bacchanal, and Serial Lullaby...” —JIM MOSKOWITZ
“Very impressive ... original and awesome sound.”
—JAKE COSMOS ALLER, STATE DEPARTMENT
“Gary Noland: Last night I spent hours listening to the tracks of your compositions that are available on YouTube and I was totally amazed by them! ... Your works are in a category all by themselves! Dude: You are a MAJOR Composer who should be known worldwide for your musical endeavors in every respect! ... I will continue to delve into your musical library and listen to everything that I can glean from any source that I can locate. Thank you for sharing your talent with us! ... I am grateful to you for creating these compositions! PS: I was ‘Blown Away’ by your ‘Ragtime’ piece ... It floored me! ... I have saved every piece of yours that I have gleaned from your posts! ... I Love these compositions. They are Totally Original in concept. And the fact that they have tinges of Frank Zappa and even Spike Jones, plus others (that are in this idiom in a roundabout way) does not at all dilute your originality or your talent and imagination. As a long time professional working musician, I can truly say that I am absolutely impressed with your Musical Artistry! I truly mean this! And I believe that my 45 years as a Working Professional Musician makes my opinion quite viable! In a ‘Slangy Vernacular’, I will have to say (In a Good Way) that ‘You have got your Shit Together!’”
"Gary Noland's lovably loopy “Ragbones,” which sprinkles quotes (with a sort of W.C. Fields accent) from various Joplin rags and Romantic gestures made a delightful second half opener,…"
—BRETT CAMPBELL, OREGON ARTSWATCH
“...‘Philomathetique’ is a witty trope on the music of Richard Strauss, with characterful motives and abundant quick modulations. ‘Effete Stinkopations’ is a deft, splashy bit of ragtime, while ‘Pickthanks and Prickmedainties’ is a light-hearted romp played at a dizzying tempo and ‘Psychonipptions’ (dedicated to composer Henry Martin) is a send-up of 20th Century French music ... his compelling artistry shines through.”
—CHRISTIAN CAREY, SPLENDID MAGAZINE
“Clever, pretty, and very listenable classical solo piano music. Post-romantic, post-impressionist, with little nods to ragtime and silent movie soundtracks. Resolutely melodic, without pretenses.”
—ALEX DUNN, KZSU 90.3FM, Stanford, CA
“...the product of a very often tonal chromatic style, gentle, but with moments of coyness ... possessed of a cheery quality, sometimes bumblingly good-natured—with forays into sharp dissonance ...”
—RICHARD BINDER, THE NASHUA TELEGRAPH
“Excellent avant-garde stylings. Very entertaining. Whimsical yet serious ... in the footprints of Gershwin, Satie and Nazareth ... Beautifully pianotificated. Aptly entertaining. Bravo.”
—DAVID W. MONTAGUE
"…quirkily charming miniatures “Broom Brigade” and “Blues Flash,…"
—BRETT CAMPBELL, OREGON ARTSWATCH
“The lyrical bent is very fetching here and, even in the passages most overtly derivative of classic ragtime, imparts an endearing, convincing voice at all times.” —DAVID THOMAS ROBERTS, American composer & pianist
“One of the most impressive Composers I've come across in years.”
—RICHARD BYRON STRUNK, composer
“Hauntingly beautiful. You never cease to impress, Mr. Noland.” —MATTHEW BOYLES
“This is fantastic ... Reminds me a little of George Perle or the Robert Helps etudes. Attractive and inventive atonal music!” —JOHN MARTIN III
“I LOVED this music!!!! Be sure I will continue to explore your work.”—CANARY BURTON, Program Host, THE LATEST SCORE, WOMR RADIO 92.1FM, Cape Cod, MA
“...productive, talented, and multi-faceted…"
—ALEXANDER THEROUX, author of DARCONVILLE'S CAT
“...Solo works for piano [Interludes, vol 1]. I enjoyed the album ... a fun listen. Can’t go wrong here ... Spirited ... exciting ... boiling, sometimes frenetic ... dramatic ... Gershwin feel ... intense ... Fun ... dark tension ... Chaotic, turbulent...”
—KZSU FM90.3, Stanford, CA
“...I just finished listening to the second half of the 39 Variations. The work is an astounding tour de force. In its far-reaching, systematic exploration of the theme's creative possibilities, as well as in the inexhaustible imagination you brought to bear, it reminds one of the Goldberg and the Diabelli. But in its monumental dimensions it goes far beyond them both, and in the large number of historical styles referenced and integrated into the work (Beethoven referenced both Bach and Handel in the Diabelli), I am unaware of any parallel. I especially enjoyed the consistent use of certain features of the theme, regardless of the style or the type of tonality, pantonality or atonality employed—among them the melodic turn, the phrases ascending by whole steps, and others. I offer my humble congratulations on a titanic achievement!”
—LUDWIG TUMAN, composer & pianist
"Oh, I like this, Gary, I have a real affinity with the ornamental passages, which help to feed the 19th century sensibility underlying the whole of this very 20th century-forward piece. I read its identity much the way I do some mature but pre-dodecaphonic Schoenberg, whose romantic rhythms followed him throughout his composing life. And, as a waltz composer myself, I instantly find all the more foundation for affection for the inviting nature of the piece. "
—DAVID THOMAS ROBERTS, American composer & pianist
"Just exactly full enough of angst and lovely melody. It sounds as if you are standing on the shoulders of Bruch and Franck and why shouldn't the world have more music like this. Thank you. "
"…Gary Noland’s expressive outsider art illustrations present an amusement park of musical possibilities."
—THE WIRE (November, 2009 issue)
"…I randomly looked into youtube after your name and discovered this jewel [Funeral Waltz, Op. 91], which I never listened to before. While listening, I thought this could have been written by Brahms, a Brahms who loved Chopin and Bach. It is such a beautiful piece, such beautiful and tender harmonies! Every pianist in the world should have it in his (her) repertoire! If you allow me, Gary, I could tell my sincere opinion, that for me, you are the most prominent American composer (of modern classical music) of our times!"
—MARIUS HEREA, Romanian composer
"…Oh yes, here by sticking to your guns-- absolutely one could get kicked out of Northeastern University for "committing" such a work [Liebesschmerz Fuge for piano, Op. 95], esp, in the 70s and 80s before the new age started to soften things up ... to write this way was seen as a snub of aesthetics of the day. It takes courage to stand your ground which shifts beneath or is like quicksand all around ... fellow students/ backstabbers, the professors, judge, jury and executioners, but this finely made work has seen its way into realization despite all that-- fascinating and so glad you're 'home'!"
—ERNESTO FERRERI, American composer
" I love your march! [DEMAGOGUE UNSEATMENT CELEBRATION MARCH for military band Op. 110] Amazing."
—ALEXANDER THEROUX, two-time NATIONAL BOOK AWARD nominee; author of DARCONVILLE'S CAT and LAURA WARHOLIC
"…hardly any piano music gets into the uncharted territory of over an hour... by an hour and 15 I arrived in a universe of wall-to-wall keyboards spinning all around above, below, in front, behind, perhaps a cumulative effect of saturation. .. then a fugue starts up and the entire universe seems to levitate, time dilates and plunges headlong and you find the piece is over and you've been released but the obsessiveness echoes still -- and you realize you have experienced something new ...the gamut of post-Bach composers and techniques is run methodically, ruthlessly: LVB Chopin RStrauss Godowsky et al perhaps even Rzewski? …"
—ERNESTO FERRERI, American composer
"Completely at odds with the dominant opinion on how to approach Diabelli Variations (according to which Beethoven's basic challenge was to achieve irony, paraphrase, and parody), I believe that the cardinal meaning of this music is precisely the opposite: achieving an ecstatic sense of unearthly, yet tender uplifting.
I am, therefore, very grateful to Gary Noland, a prolific and very skillful American composer, who wrote the lines below.
Leaving modesty aside, I must add that Radu Lupu, the Romanian pianist, once told me precisely the same thing. And more recently, the Russian outstanding musicologist Nina Shirokova (Нина Широкова) expressed similar views on my performance in a very engaging (and ongoing) discussion we are having on the ultimate meanings of Beethoven's masterwork. I am truly pleased that my approach is considered worthwhile by musical thinkers I fully respect and trust."
"A poem by the famous poet and novelist Alexander Theroux set to music by the inventive American composer Gary Noland. The sound version proposed on the link below makes you think of the logical-mechanical character of the ideologies and totalitarian realities that Jacob L talk about. Talmon and Hannah Arendt (I suppose in the mind of anyone the name Schicklgruber and Djugashvili automatically send to the two historical figures of sinister memory, personifications - if you can say - of the notion of totalitarianism...) However, Noland's music is not without a certain lyricism, with incursions into both the Soviet and German sphere. In the comment, you can find a link to the American composer's new double CD.
—ANDREI VIERU, Roumanian pianist
LISTED BY AMY'S BOOKSHELF REVIEWS AS THE NUMBER ONE BOOK OF 2018
"Many elements make Jagdlied a unique title that defies easy categorization as a novel, thriller, or other singular genre accomplishment. While it's all of the above, it's also a performance piece, a literary roller-coaster, a "musically and graphically enriched chamber novel", a satire, a work of art, and a psychological striptease. One might not expect the seriously dirty, cruel element of the story line; but this too is one of the many pieces that make Jagdlied fairly indefinable.
First of all, readers should keep a dictionary close at hand. This is no whimsical romp, but holds language that is dense, paradoxical, and satisfyingly educational for readers who fancy themselves wordsmiths: "Appreciating these "fun facts" about our beauteous young demigoddess, our besotted young aristo - the disconsolate, lachrymose, and wretchedly heartsick young wooer publicly known by the sobriquet "Threwer in the Sewer" (whose solo Dutch act, on Melody's behalf, had inspired a wave of solitaires all across the country and abroad) - had written her the following ditty, as a kind of sympathetic ode, if thou wilt, to the aforesaid barb in her side..."
As poetry, black and white and color illustrations, and scathing satirical observation permeate the story of a coddled rich girl's questionable ethical and moral standards, readers will find the complex descriptions, wordplays, and scenarios to be both demanding and entertaining, all in one: "Suffice it to observe here that, seeing as our castigated cokitten found herself arched over in such an impertinently conciliatory posture, this publicly transgressive perscrutation of her backslice didn't unfail to forgo the kankerdort of consternating her profusely." (Note: this book is offered in both color and black and white versions - the black and white one is considerably less expensive.)
By now it should be obvious that this tour de force is a thriller of linguistic acuity designed to delight a genuine aficionado of the English language. From the neo-heroine heiress Melody's position of power and layers of exploitative behaviors to her come-uppance, fostered by those who have suffered her slings and arrows, Jagdlied is at once indefinable because of its mercurial approach and satisfyingly whimsical and unique in its scathing presentations.
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, and a diamond-studded thriller atmosphere that demands much from its readers while rewarding its audiences with a compelling, sassy set of characters and conundrums make for a read that is hard to put down.
Whether it's passive-aggressive behavior in front of a judge or a "commiserable coquette" who falls from grace and finds herself immersed in situations beyond her control, Jagdlied offers a lovely synthesis of graphic illustration, music, and a powerful, satirical hand heavy on the written word that creates a lively romp. Because the author has embedded over a hundred YouTube videos into the text, readers will ideally have their headphones powered up to absorb the musical interludes and references.
Readers will want to allow plenty of time to absorb both its captivating descriptions and the underlying nuances of Melody's encounters in a story that is especially recommended for literary readers of experimental writings and thrillers which are quite a notch above the standard formula fare."
—DIANE DONOVAN, Senior Reviewer of MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS (April, 2019 edition)
“...a psychological thriller charged with dark humor, erotica, and thought-provoking philosophical questions ... unlike anything I have ever read ... you get immersed and entirely consumed by the events ... a roller-coaster that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Questions and discussions on philosophical topics, life, love, democracy, Marxism, the types of brain, and the struggle of the worker against machinery add depth to the prose. Musically and graphically enriched, the prose was a feast that satiated my mind, eyes, and ears ... an extraordinary reading experience ... Reading this book will take you on an epic visual-auditory adventure, and is bound to keep you glued to your seat till the very end.”
—ONLINE BOOK CLUB
“...monumental ... farcical story evolving around the adventures of a spoiled teenage entitlement princess ... a huge undertaking ... [the author] also composed all of the music and masterfully performs the majority of it ... Perils of Pauline on steroids— modernized, more exaggerated, highly extravagant, and decadent ... lavishly illustrated with drawings that have a sixties Haight- Ashbury summer of love feel to them ... He proves himself a master cartoonist that can create a tapestry of masterfully detailed and storytelling images with an astonishing diversity of style and creativity. There is a satirical edge to most of his drawings that profoundly helps convey the harrowing, tragic, and juicy stories. The book’s inherent drama is expressed vividly in the multitude of graphics that show the characters with unique faces, attitudes, and emotions ... full of villainous cut-throats who masquerade as Melody’s friends ... many comic scenes and eccentric personalities, which play an integral part in both the plot and the theme ... Much of the dialogue is copiously enriched with words that are inventions of [the author’s] ... a colorful cast of characters consisting of eccentrics, beautiful damsels, the unsophisticated and everything in between ... [Landon’s] narrative sweep is so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions and to ... musical accompaniment. His work is masterful, stylistic and complex. This is a huge book ... uniquely entertaining and truly worth experiencing.”
“The author has skillfully crafted a tale of sour love, questionable characters, jealousy and revenge ... told vividly and imaginatively ... a thrilling literary ride through the protagonist’s experiences as a princess whose castle is falling apart by the brick. On one hand, you feel bad for her but on the other you would rather not bother. This quality leaves the reader so gloriously torn between the characters of the book. Not to mention glued to the pages as the story unfolds ... The readers will find themselves quite easily drawn into the story. The unusual tone and a touch of simplicity for the complex plot are welcoming and appealing. They beg the reader to read just one more page. To find out what happens next and then next. The term ‘page turner’ was coined for this book ... To the intrigued reader, beware, this book is quite a dirty sex crazed romp. Conservatives better brace themselves, keep a bible handy, and an open mind because you will hate how much you enjoy the erotic quality of this book. Rarely does a book possess so many winning qualities. Humor, drama, erotica, tragedy and much more. All delivered with expert craftsmanship and a generous dose of thrill ... a very enjoyable and entertaining ride.”
—LITERARY TITAN (WINNER OF THE LITERARY TITAN BOOK AWARD)
“...a multifaceted novel about a wealthy heiress, socialite, and trust-fund diamond-digger debutante named Melody. Intending for Jagdlied to be acted out and enjoyed with the accompanying illustrations and musical scores, Landon’s alter egos—Gary Lloyd Noland and Lon Gaylord Dylan—contributed to Landon's satirical and (aptly) self-described “chamber novel” with symphonic compositions and comic-strip style images. Throughout, Landon writes a narrative that follows Melody, the protagonist and anti- heroine, as she navigates everything from business to broken hearts, and courtrooms to carnivals ... The links to the author’s original music compositions on YouTube are also provided and ... made the scores easy to play on cue. My personal favorite ... was Mumbo Gumbo (Op. 71, No. 1), which gave me the biggest smile ever with a Ragtime meets Flight of the Bumblebee rhythm. Jagdlied is everything it sets out to be and the creative genius of Landon is delivered at full throttle. In short: I loved this book. It’s a wholly unique concept but I was able to grasp it easily and look forward to any opportunity to act this out with my most open-minded friends; those who have the same scruples as myself ... No scruples, whatsoever. Highly recommended!”
—JAMIE MICHELE, READERS’ FAVORITE
“...am flabbergasted ... by the magnitude (bigger than Our Bodies, Ourselves) ... by the multi-media Gesamtkunstwerk ambitions ... by the Joycean wordplay ... exuberant code-switching, diction-mixing, blending of disparate linguistic ingredients into previously unknown harmonies and cacophonies. Like Finnegans Wake or The Anatomy of Melancholy ... I look forward to dipping into it for years to come”
—CHRISTOPHER MILLER (AUTHOR OF "SUDDEN NOISES FROM INANIMATE OBJECTS" & "AMERICAN CORNBALL")
“...creative genius ... unique ... thought-provoking ideas and language ... memorable and enjoyable. I highly recommend this creation as an experience not to be missed!”
“...a thriller novel unlike any other. Its words lead you on a journey that gives a unique literary style ... I was curious and lost within the pages immediately. The plot was complex. Dolly Gray Landon knows how to write in a way that [piques] one’s interest and holds it until the end ... There was a combination of styles poured into this book ... a rich, fun, and ... epic read.”
—URBAN BOOK REVIEWS
“...a work of arts-based literary fiction ... [it] provides the opportunity for artists, creators, performers, musicians and the like to expand on the story and present it in much more theatrical terms. The tale itself is a wild ride where a wealthy young woman finds her undoing, but the plot goes far beyond this single girl, ranging between sick-lit, grotesque, surrealist and absurd themes definitely kept me reading! I think the concept of treating the plot of Jagdlied with a wider artistic series of tools is an excellent idea, and I could certainly see the wild and absurd moments of the story enticing and inspiring spontaneous performance ... a niche read for artists of all kinds looking for something unexpected to create ... an explosive collection of content that will certainly get creative minds going ... not for the faint of heart.”
—K.C. FINN, READERS’ FAVORITE
“...a stunning piece of literature that enthralled, entertained and enchanted me from the very first page! ... will captivate readers from all genres thanks to the many themes that are interwoven between the pages ... brilliant! ... took my breath away ... impossible to put down ... unforgettable ... if you are a reader who is tired of reading the same old books that are lackluster and forgettable then take a chance with this one ... you will not be disappointed! This incredible book gets Five Stars from me!”
—AIMEE ANN, RED HEADED BOOKLOVER
“...a chamber novel that reads like a comic thriller complete with musical sidebars and graphics. The princess, more of a teenage heiress who thinks she is entitled to a huge inheritance, is about to be brought down to earth with a very large bump. Follow Melody on a ... farcical journey as she learns some hard truths about life, love and whatever comes in between ... Jagdlied was one of those ‘oh my gosh!’ books ... entirely colorful and strangely eclectic mix of words ... totally outlandish ... genius ... incredibly complex ... creative ... no denying the cleverness....”
—ANNE-MARIE REYNOLDS, READERS’ FAVORITE
“...Remarkably creative ... simply magnificent ... this is the first ‘chamber novel’ that I've read ... wonderfully put together. The graphics were vibrant and storytelling ... unique and powerful ... I truly never read anything like it before. The story was filled with satire, darkness and embarked many different aspects about life and human behavior. I enjoyed the entire story and how it all came together, making sense of the wondrous mind of Landon....”
—AMY’S BOOKSHELF REVIEWS (listed as the NUMBER ONE BOOK of 2018)
5.0 out of 5 stars—"How can I begin to describe this?"
"The experience of reading this book--and I mean this in a good, thoroughly impressed manner--is like being trapped in a cement mixer with 27 bottles of absinthe and every magazine ever printed (not just the good ones). To say that this book will overwhelm your senses, in every sense of the word senses, and that would be all five senses, plus the senses that we suspect we have but no one has proved the existence of as yet, is another understatement. I read this as a Kindle Book, and I believe Kindle users can download a free sample. That's what I would suggest if there be such samples because it will take a great deal of concentration to read this for its full effect. If you get a sample, multiply by 1,377,203 and you will get a sense of how overpowering this book is. I tip my hat to the author. It doesn't seem possible that a human brain can house this much information, keep it organized, and then process it into a shareable format that is so absolutely entertaining. Kudos! A book like this comes along very rarely, and shouldn't be missed."
—Lawrence Jay Switzer, author of "Sayville Tales"
5.0 out of 5 stars—"a tour-de-force!"
"I've never used the word tour de force in a sentence before and have probably never typed it. But in thinking about how to describe this novel, I had to reach beyond my normal vocabulary! You can absolutely trust that the reviews in the book's description are not hyperbole. It's like nothing I had ever read and I'm constantly consuming literature. This book is as delicious as anything you could possibly feed your mind."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wow! This was a lot, but worth it."
"This book is not like anything I have ever read. It may well be a modern-day classic. It is a thriller and is full of unexpected twists. It also is very interesting and will consume you. This is much more than a quick read, it'll make you think. Highly recommend."
—Michael L.F. Slavin, author of "One Million in the Bank"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Unparalleled!"
"…Outlandish and satirical, morose and excessive. The first few paragraphs had me chuckling simply for the words. It had me thinking of the 60's in California and the flee flowing pills, and how one would ponder in exuberance, the meaning of life within a petal of a flower.
I was unfortunate enough not to have sound on my computer, so I couldn't enjoy the links to the music in the book, but trust me, the words and drawings are enough for anyone to enjoy. I haven't seen anything like this in any other book I have picked up and I'm greatly pleased to have this in my library for it's uniqueness alone! Bravo to the author for this grandiose work!"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Brilliant, Surreal, and Subversive"
"…a brilliantly and subversively constructed satire … over-the-top … masterfully crafted … you get hooked … clever…"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Couldn't put it down!"
"… I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more books by this author … It was so nicely paced that I couldn't put the book down and managed to ""binge-read"" it well within a day … There are a few plot twists that make it that much more exciting … Dolly Gray Landon has become my absolute favorite author. I recommend this book highly."
"A whimsical piece of literature. This took me on a trip."
"One of the first times when reading I imagined an orchestra of characters flowing in and out of my head. Brace yourself for a roller coaster of a book. This is a deep eccentric book with full of unexpected twists. An intense read but well worth every page."
"Art thou stamin-ambitious enough to take on this head-spinning, ob-skeweringly verbose, indeco-rustically Shakespearean play? Or is it that your love for chaos in word-er is trumped by your clever-sion to matters of dire-onical importance, such as philo-soliloquizing on the nature of braggart-istic expression? Nothing is More by Dolly Gray Landon (a pseudonym and anagram of the author’s real name, Gary Lloyd Noland) is the script for a six-hour play, a satirical black comedy written in doggerel verse. This pun-filled linguistic labyrinth pokes fun at the elitism of the art world and academia while still gracefully tackling large and complex themes in philosophy and aesthetics.
The story is set in a fictional Pimpleton State Luniversity in New Jersey, where six opinionated people with vastly differing perspectives on what constitutes “art” butt heads and form alliances over philosophical arguments. Five of these characters are students in the Luniversity-specific postdoctoral “stool” program, striving for the lucrative “Modigger Prize.” Their areas of research are hyper-specialised and absurdly obscure, including topics such as Pimaeval Linguistics, Feline Transgender Studies, and Astromusicology. The star of the show is a bombastic artist named Phangbang Bonation, a “submicrominimalist,” whose artistic movement of “Nadaism” has revolutionised the art world. Nadaism consists of doing and producing nothing, “nada,” and is touted as not only a legitimate but a prodigiously revolutionary form of self-expression. Two other “stool” candidates, Purvel and Pelvin—disgusted by this fraud being committed on the artistic and academic world—form an elaborate scheme to expose Bonation as the scammer they believe him to be and to make sure that Nadaism becomes simply an unfortunate blip in the trajectory of art history. To complete this six-act story, add a corrupt Beverly Lovebucks (President of the Luniversity and career politician), two distinctly impressionable women whose affections Bonation has captured, a chorus, a musical score, and miscellaneous cats. Do Pelvin and Purvel succeed in their efforts to save art? What dark secrets lie in the Pandora’s box of the art world? What happens when their own theories are put to the test?
In the beginning of the play, I was unsure of what “level of irony” the script was on. I shall explain this further. Some of the wordplay seemed corny and forced (for example: badministrators, unsnobjectively, dustbinstitutionalized, run-of-the-nil, fartistic, greater than the scum of its parts). The characters also seemed wildly caricatured, with Phangbang Bonation in particular exhibiting obscene and unsophisticated behaviour that was so over the top that it was more confusing to read than funny. There was also a lot of overtly derogatory sexual content. For these reasons, I was not sure whether the author intended that the satire be unsubtle, whether this lack of subtlety was part of the satire, or whether this tension between subtlety and lack thereof was another intended element of the satire. The story started off seeming as though the author was just relentlessly and remorsefully vilifying academia and the art world, dragging it down and dismissing it as silly without offering any possibility of redemption. However, as the plot twisted on and loose strings tied up, the author created a beautifully nuanced unfolding of events. Different aspects of previously unidimensional characters were exposed to create more balanced and less unequivocal philosophical explorations. Some profound questions were provoked apropos the meanings of beauty, originality, destruction, and creation. The narrative had a merciless logical incisiveness to it, but less readily visible was the gentle ethical questioning behind it that tied the whole piece together. During the course of reading the script, the rating I wanted to give the book was constantly fluctuating in my mind, finally settling on a solid 4 out of 4 stars after initially wanting to rate it 2 stars.
The author has an incredible grasp of language and wielded it masterfully, filling the script with deft puns and word mashups. Even the descriptions (parts of the piece that don’t have to actually be performed) have clever wordplay. The juxtaposition of Shakespearean language and blatant, sleazy vulgarity set the stage for clever and entertaining contrasts. The author was very thorough in laying out a comprehensive and well-structured plan for the six acts, including detailed stage setups, colour schemes, costumes, and body language. The musical scores also seem to be very complex pieces.
Funnily enough, it was difficult to identify typos because I was unsure whether a word was spelled wrong or whether it was wordplay so skilful I just didn’t understand it. The editing was quite professional, and I only caught a couple of errors. However, one non-grammatical confusion I had was why Pimpleton was sometimes the “Luniversity” and sometimes the “adversity.”
One potential issue is that a lot—if not most—of the linguistic details might get lost during the actual performance of the play. This applies especially to small words that aren’t in otherwise particularly interesting sentences, such as saying “snuffice” instead of “suffice.” Another potential issue is that the entire script is a string of twisted-up words, heavy philosophical concepts, and multiple levels of meaning. Somebody who isn’t exceptionally abstract in thought or invested in art philosophy might become bored or fail to hang on to the multiple threads of theory, especially if it is being watched and not read. There is a lot to be processed in terms of theoretical material, and I believe the audience might not get enough time to digest all the concepts it if they watch it live.
I wish I knew what kind of audience the author was looking to target. From what I’ve seen, this piece most probably has an extremely niche audience. I loved this play only because I am heavily into art history and I enjoy clever wordplay. I would have also probably not have enjoyed this play as much if I had watched it instead of reading it. I would only recommend Nothing is More to people who have some background in the philosophy of aesthetics and enjoy following numerous metaphysical threads at once. I would also recommend this only to audiences over eighteen due to the graphic content."
—ONLINE BOOK CLUB
"...Some of the longer sections of dialogue had much philosophical meat on them and some fascinating insights into the way we view and cherish the opinions of 'artists' and 'experts,' often at the expense of our own common sense or gut feelings ... In many ways I was reminded of a much more extreme FlashHeart from Blackadder, morphing to the extreme pragmatism and cynicism of Blackadder himself ... 'and now for something completely different!'"
--Grant Leishman, READERS' FAVORITE
"Nothing is More: A High Black Comedy in Verse with Music for Six Actors demands much from its readers, who ideally will be drama students with a penchant for satire, verse, and the outrageous. Anyone expecting a staid story or a typical outline of dramatic form is in for both a revelation and a treat, because Nothing is More delights in the unexpected, from blatant and ribald sexual explorations to archaic and whimsical explorations of college courses as odd as Feline Transgender Studies.
In other words: toss any expectations out the window and settle back for a challenging but unique, rollicking ride as Dolly Gray Landon romps through academia and social inspection with an eye to probing the roots of artistic and social revolution alike.
Ideally, this play will be performed, but a six-hour production is a lot to commit to, for most theatres. College students and avant garde stages will be more likely to undertake the production of this complex story, knowing that an audience of literary-minded social scientists will be highly appreciative of both the literary achievement of putting together a six-hour production entirely in verse, and the story's focus on personality clashes, cultural and religious references, and sexual and social revelation.
It should also be mentioned that no group is immune, here. Landon pokes fun at and makes pointed observations of just about everything in this circle, which holds as much potential for offense as it does insight.
The result is a well-crafted, complex, dramatic work that will gain attention not just from innovative drama students and producers, but from readers of plays, who will find it delightfully quirky and whimsical in its creative, complex inspection of the evolution of dogmas and schemes in the art world. "
—DIANE DONOVAN, Senior Reviewer of MIDWEST BOOK REVIEWS (July, 2019 edition)
"Nothing is More by Dolly Gray Landon is an outlandish play, consisting of six main characters, that takes place at Pimpleton State Luniversity. Yes, we did spell university “Luniversity,” and, in fact, many words in the play are cleverly altered to better fit the play’s theme and bring clarity to the emotions or perspective of the moment. The main protagonist is a character by the name of Phangbang Bonation who is an adherent to “Nadaism,” an artistic and philosophical counterculture experiment that discards all contemporary culture and politics. The true adherents to this movement even had their Nadaist Manifesto read from a roll of toilet paper by poet Gonzalo Arango. Phangbang Bonation has revived this artistic movement with his minimalist artistry that consists of nothing. Yes, he offers nothing, much like some of the new music offerings that are foisted on today’s masses that lack instrumentation or talented vocalists. Like real life, Bonation’s illusory works are extolled by the critics and lauded by the masses. The praise and notoriety he receives for his nonexistent work disturbs Pelvin Penisovich and Purvel Schlignatz, his stool degree candidate contemporaries. Phangbang Bonation is also guilty of frivolously stealing the hearts of the girlfriends of Pelvin and Purvel, adding to their angst. Bonation’s actions prompt the two to join together in a plot to expose Bonation as a fraud. How do they go about this task and are they successful…?
The play is BIG; estimated time for the production is six hours. Landon provides music scores that are written to play as an accompaniment to the reading of his play and has produced numerous pieces that are available on YouTube that would be played during the actual production. One piece is called “Pornomusik” (Op. 48). It is a piece with discordant sounds woven into the music. You hear a dog barking and various voices, some using expletives. Landon’s music is as avant-garde as his writing. This six-act play is a bit bawdy and often is making fun of numerous beliefs and customs that society foolishly embraces.
There is a great deal of poetry in the words Landon delivers in his work. An example of such is:
’Tis a virtual quest for the Holy Grail.
I study the telltale behavioral signs
In clutters of cute, cuddly young felines
To ascertain which sex has the stoutest of spines.
’Tis the tarnal question of what makes the female versus the male...and then some.
My experiments have shown an incontestably conclusive outcome.
Namely: by reversing the sexual role-playing patterns in nubile young pussies,
I've managed to demonstrate, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that male cats are the wussies.
Suffice it to say that these rigorous experiments
Involve a level of complexity.
Such that my tempts to expound them to thee
Would only ingrowth thy perplexity.
It’s obvious from the sample above, that Landon has a fondness for the use of some archaic words like “tarnal,” to embellish his play. In fact, much of the verbiage used, such as “tarnal,” gives the play a ring of a piece from the 18th century but at the same time addresses contemporary issues. Landon has penned another enormous and somewhat complicated theatric treat that once again showcases his brilliance."
D. HEARNE, AUTHORSREADING
"...a mix between Shakespeare and Joe Dirt ... uniquely written ... hard to put down ... fast pace ... unusual environment ... unique."
--Anthony Elmore, READERS' FAVORITE
"This physiological thriller is amusing and engaging right from the start. Act one introduces us to the characters, all of which I found interesting but one more particularly so was Purvel Schlignatz. He’s a graduate student who is focused and open-minded, but gets convinced to do things that he sometimes does not subscribe to … The drama and romance blended easily and were equally entertaining … Dolly Gray Landon’s story is exciting … and filled with characters with quirky names having engaging conversations. I … got to learn a few new words, as the jargon used by the Stool candidates was compelling … Everything from the plot, literary stylistic devices used, character and writing style were excellent. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading plays and wants to enjoy a good story. Keep a dictionary handy as this story will surely increase your vocabulary.
Wealth, power, the socialite life, education, relationships, and peer influence are some of the themes covered in the book. The author’s sense of humor is subtly apparent throughout and serves to deliver a larger satirical story that kept me laughing, entertained, and quickly flipping pages."—LITERARY TITAN
"... philosophically challenging work ... As many conspire to rebuke ... and uncover the nonsense artist for what he truly is, the schemes take twists and turns to a startling and unusual climax ... Students of both art and philosophy are sure to get a lot out of the ideas discussed by playwright Dolly Gray Landon ... for those who appreciate a critical challenge with plenty of dark laughter, ... sure to bring smirks to lips ... recommended as a powerful intellectual work for a select audience."--K.C. Finn, READERS' FAVORITE
5.0 out of 5 stars "Dark, twisted, satirical, ironic and marvelous!!!"
"This book had me laughing HARD from the first page to the last. I can't get enough. If this book got transformed into a play near me, I would definitely go watch it now. Do yourself a favor and check out this book!"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wonderfully weird"
"The book is written extraordinarily, it's hard to explain, but the writing is brilliant. I loved the story, and the characters are so entertaining. I would recommend this book to everybody because it's quite unique, wonderful, and one of the most amazing books I have ever read."
—BRANSLAV BOJCIC, author of "I Hate My Brother"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Hilarious!"
"Nothing is More is a masterpiece. It is a play, so reading it is like reading any other play. You have to use your imagination. I would love to see this come to life on the stage."
5.0 out of 5 stars "An amazing comedy"
"A real joy filled with dark humor and irony. With a lot of skill, the author has put together a sophisticated comedy where there is music, poetry and very clever dialogues. It is certainly a unique project. After reading it, I hope to see it performed live in a theater or an art house."
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Hilarious and Imaginative Journey"
"First and foremost, this work is a screenplay for the stage, so the formatting is different. Because of this, it goes into detail describing props and costumes before getting into the story.
Following the journey of a poor man who goes on to get his higher degree (called a 'stool'), because quite frankly, his last one was professed to be useless, this story satirizes how we spend so much time and money achieving nothing as we pursue other wonderfully unproductive things. You'll watch Purvel grapple with the most ridiculous concept, "Nadiasm", producing nothing whatsoever. It may sound familiar to those struggling with the state of today's education. With a heavy mix of imagination and satirizing of the non-nonsensical aspects of education, this play shocks, confuses, and makes you laugh on a whole other level. In other words, this is an unashamedly unique piece of work. The vocabulary is so wide and so imaginatively made-up that it can a be a much more difficult read than seeing it happen on stage. In fact, you'll want to see it on stage because the cast of characters is colorful as well. A man who plays a woman named President Beverly Lovebucks is a good example. Even the names of characters and things have been touched with this manic genius. You have Purvel Schlignatz and the Modigger Prize Snubcommittee. You have Phangbang Bonation and Dronah Stackbut. Yet it's mixed with very real words that you never hear such as, 'Bespeaks a peculiar distemper.' It's nonsense humor meets a more complicated brand of humor, and it does it well. I'd give more exact examples but I'm not sure what Amazon would do to the review, so I'll let you guess.
This will definitely appeal to those who are struggling in their own fight against Nadiasm."
"Unique, verbose and witty."
"Oh my, what to say about this extraordinary outpouring of creativity and ...words....This is a theatrical text on speed, a bonanza of ideas, a linguistic outpouring, -tackling questions of aesthetics, philosophy, and what constitutes an authentic form of creative expression.... doing just that, -creating an authentic artistic expression, indeed!
This is a dark comedy of the mind. Intellect and wit are the main ingredients for this play, mostly leaving emotions and human contact off stage. I applaud the creativity and the scope of the writing.…"
5.0 out of 5 stars "I loved the creativity"
"Nothing is More is unlike any book I've read. Yes it was well written with a good story and developed characters, but it also was presented as a musical with imaginary costumes and a poetic verse. Worthy of five stars."
—NEIL PERRY GORDON, Author of SADIE'S SIN and A COBBLER'S TALE
5.0 out of 5 stars "A black comedy at its best"
"I really enjoyed this one … It shows a great talent when it comes to words and expressed ideas, and I would love to see the play if it materializes one day."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Great Satire"
"I love the dark comedy aspect of this piece … Very funny."
5.out of 5 stars "A Work of Unique Creativity"
"I give this 5-Stars for its unique creativity, which I look upon as a stroke of genius. This work requires patience as you read through it, but rewards the reader with wit, an interesting storyline, and humor. There is a philosophical message as well. If the play comes out, I will be first in line to see it!"
—WILLIAM N. WEISS, Author of "The Deserving"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Noteworthy"
"This work is an impressive display of talent and hard work. Some of the reviewers completely fail to recognize the sheer amount of skill that goes into a complex piece like this, and really, that just reveals their own inexperience. The author can rightly be very proud of this work, and I would not be surprised to see it in active production very soon. It is fun, energetic, and contemporary with twangs of classical playwriting."
"A play with a dark sense of humor"
The story of six people all with wildly different ideas on what constitutes art butt heads trying to prove their own perspective to be the right one. Crazy hi-jinks, music, and dark humor abound … this is a fun read … if you like dark comedies and plays in general.…
5.0 out of 5 stars "A bit laborious but good"
"I am giving it a 5 star because of the skill it takes in writing a piece like this and actually doing it well. I must admit, I haven't really read a script for a play like this before, and can't help but feel it would do the tale more justice to actually see it performed live. There were some humorous parts, for sure, and most of the characters were well-developed. Maybe it is just because I am not used to reading things in this format, but I did have a little trouble at times and there were parts were it was a bit wordy and the flow was interrupted. Still, if you are good at visualizing what you read, and enjoy reading scripted-format/plays, give this is a read. Like I said, I gave it a 5 star for skill and story, but feel it would make a very entertaining play should someone ever adapt it. I would go see it."
5.0 out of 5 stars "A brilliant play"
"This play forms a humorous and enjoyable work to read …admirable … The author's irreverence … comes across vividly. The poetry … is easy to read and comprehend. The names of the characters are comic, and they come alive in …descriptions and dialogues … some scenes … are risqué … I enjoyed reading every word of the play."
5.0 out of 5 stars
"… hilarious … this can be, and … should be, staged as a commercial play."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Unique and masterful"
"I really enjoyed this … if the play comes out, I want to see it … Dark comedy at its best."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Unique and engaging"
"Once I got through the intro and into the guts of the play ... I was hooked. This is a fun—yet there are layers here that make this a very satisfying read."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Funny Read"
"… great, funny read that is a refreshing change of pace."
—DAVID AND CHRISTINE
"… avante garde stylings … wit and humor, loads of tongue in cheek laughs and rhymes galore for what I'm sure would be a fantastic live performance.…"
—DAVID J. WEST, Author of "Cold slither"
"… delightfully over-the-top characters and … dark humor …"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Actually made me laugh; immensely enjoyed it!"
"I'm a fan of complex comedy, but sometimes it fails to make me laugh as much as dark/simple humor. Luckily, this script has both and it entertains your sophisticated side as well as your more human side. I found myself actually enjoying it immensely, and I'd love to see it acted out. To those who complained about the long 'intro', that's literally how a script works. Stage managers have to understand how to set up the stage as well as actors and director knowing the direction of the show."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Highly Imaginative Black Comedy"
"This is definitely a unique project. The play comes complete with music scores and precise characterizations and descriptions of costumes, etc. The dialogue is not everyday, common prose, but uses a highly imaginative rhyming format. The author estimates the play would be about 6 hours in duration if it is staged. If you enjoy dark humor, you will enjoy this comedy."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Well Done"
"I picked up the book because I was curious to read a musically enriched novel. The is literally a composed masterpiece. It entertained me from the very first page. Instantly I was transported into another time period where the author used vivid imagery coupled with poetically stunning verses to help me visualize each character and their surroundings. The author used just the right blend of humor and satire. Kudos and well done."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Impressive"
"A fantastical read that would make an imaginative live performance. A must read."
5.0 out of 5 stars
"… very creative and unique book … rewarding … enjoyable … would recommend this book."
5.0 out of 5 stars "good read"
"The book contained humorous dialogue and i also enjoyed the scathing critique of the art world and the academy!"
5.0 out of 5 stars "Funny"
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2020
"Well-written and funny. I would recommend it."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fun!"
"I truly enjoyed the wit and humour throughout this play. Would love to see it performed live."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Entertaining"
"This is a comically satirical play in verse with notated and pre-recorded musical segments.I absolutely loved this book. Great rainy Sunday read."
5.0 out of 5 stars "Unique and engaging!"
"Unique and engaging! Once I got through the intro and into the guts of the play... I was hooked.
This is a fun - yet there are layers here that make this a very satisfying read."
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