Gary Lloyd Noland – “Gospel of Dysfunction” – audacity and boundless ambition!

Prepare to embark on a thrilling voyage into the realm of sonic eccentricity with Gary Lloyd Noland, a true avant-garde visionary who fearlessly shatters musical boundaries. His latest opus, “Gospel of Dysfunction,” is a mesmerizing collection of 12 compositions that invites listeners to embrace the unorthodox and liberate their minds from the shackles of musical convention. Noland’s artistic journey began amidst the vibrant chaos of People’s Park, a hotbed of social unrest adjacent to UC Berkeley. Raised in a crowded house, he absorbed the spirit of rebellion that emanated from the park’s storied past. However, it was during his formative years spent in Salzburg and Garmisch-Partenkirchen that Noland’s musical prowess truly blossomed, influenced by a diverse array of melodic cultures.

Gary Lloyd Noland

Guided by an insatiable hunger for knowledge, Noland sought instruction from a pantheon of acclaimed composers and musicians, steadily honing his craft. A Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley served as a springboard for his musical odyssey, leading him to the hallowed halls of the Boston Conservatory and eventually Harvard University, where he triumphantly emerged with both a Masters and a PhD in Music Composition.

Gary Lloyd Noland’s extensive discography is a testament to his tireless exploration of various musical forms. With audacity and boundless ambition, he has composed a vast array of works spanning piano, vocal, chamber, orchestral, experimental, and electronic genres. Additionally, he has delved into the realms of full-length plays in verse, chamber novels, and graphically notated scores, exhibiting an artistic spirit that knows no limits.

“Gospel of Dysfunction” is where Noland’s avant-garde sensibility intertwines with his experimental fervor, forging an enthralling union that sets him apart from the musical masses. Each composition on this extraordinary album carries its own captivating narrative, inviting listeners into an immersive journey of uncharted sonic dimensions, with features by pianists Paul Safar and Kaori Katayama Noland, as well as the soprano Nancy Wood.

Immerse yourself in the tempestuous embrace of “Flambivalence” (Op. 133, No. 1) and “Another Day, Another Pustule” (Op. 133, No. 2), where the clash of pianos, percussion, and strings conjures a maelstrom of emotion. Experience the disorienting beauty of “Funfare for Sanity” for Brass Quintet (Op. 129), a composition that challenges traditional notions of harmony and structure, leaving listeners in awe of its daring innovation.

With “With All Due Despect, Your Sir – Reverence…” (Op. 133, No. 3), Noland unleashes a torrential downpour of sound effects and cascading piano melodies, a chaotic yet mesmerizing symphony that defies expectations. “A Luminous Smudge of Sorabji Fudge” (Op. 133, No. 4) captivates with its enigmatic piano performance, luring listeners into a kaleidoscope of harmonies that transcend the ordinary.

Portrait by Marco Aidala

Enter a world of peculiar wonders with “Li’l Peewee Poindexter Mislays His Encephalophagus at Sodom & Scaly’s Nine-Ring Circus of Confusiasm,” a composition that unravels like a surreal dream, challenging listeners to embrace the unexpected. Meanwhile, “Musical Portrait of English Writer Will Self” (Op. 117, No. 6) offers a captivating homage to literature through a sonic tapestry that dances with raw emotion.

Witness the unraveling of traditional structures with “Epicedium for Piano” (Op. 58), where Noland’s audacious spirit pushes the boundaries of the piano’s capabilities, defying conventional techniques while still embracing them. In a glorious display of nuanced virtuosity, he weaves a tapestry that transports listener into his personal realm.

From the depths of imagination emerges “Claptrapdash” from Royal Oilworks Music” (Op. 80, No. 13), a composition that defies categorization. Brass, percussion, and strings meld together in a magnificent crescendo, captivating the senses with a symphony of chaos and order. Noland fearlessly embraces dissonance, infusing it with a rhythmic intensity and skittering sound effects that electrifies the air.

Soprano Nancy Wood becomes an ethereal messenger in “I Dare Not Ask a Kiss” (Op. 7), her voice intertwining with the piano in a delicate dance of longing and restraint. Noland’s composition transcends the boundaries of language, conveying emotions that words alone cannot express. It is a testament to his ability to evoke profound depths of feeling through the marriage of voice and keys.

As the album reaches its apex with “Gospel of Dysfunction from Musical Junk Sculptures” (Op. 102, No. 10), Noland’s visionary genius shines brightly, illuminating a path towards sonic enlightenment. With a blend of electronic elements, evocative melodies, and daring juxtapositions, he weaves a tale of disarray and revelation, inviting listeners to embrace the chaos and find meaning within.

Album artwork

The album’s climax arrives with “Entropic Domain of Apathizing Barnacles and Their Ideological Brethren” (Op. 133, No. 6). In this monumental composition, Noland unchains himself from all conventions, leading the listener through a labyrinth of sonic exploration. The cacophony of sounds and textures coalesce into a grand symphony of rebellion, a declaration of liberation from the chains that bind us to the ordinary.

What sets Gary Lloyd Noland apart is not only his fearless exploration of avant-garde territory but also his ability to infuse his compositions with an undeniable sense of enjoyment. As pianos meld seamlessly with brass, percussion, strings, and sound effects, a mesmerizing fusion unfolds. It is a testament to Noland’s mastery that the resulting blend is both strikingly enjoyable and uncannily surprising, like stumbling upon a hidden treasure in a sonic labyrinth.

Gary Lloyd Noland is not merely a composer; he is an artistic alchemist, transforming discord into harmony, chaos into beauty. With “Gospel of Dysfunction,” he beckons us to break free from the constraints of tradition and embrace the boundless possibilities that lie beyond.

So cast away your conventions, shed the limitations of your musical mindset, and embark on a transformative journey through the “Gospel of Dysfunction.” Let the music of Gary Lloyd Noland wash over you, inviting you to explore the uncharted depths of sonic innovation. Open your ears, open your mind, and surrender to the symphony of nuance, chaos and brilliance that awaits.


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Rick Jamm

Journalist, publicist and indie music producer with a fervent passion for electric guitars and mixing desks !

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