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Volaré The Uncertainty Principle album cover
3.86 | 45 ratings | 8 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

2. Abcircus (6:35)
3. Blitz (8:47)
4. One Minute Of Thought.. (3:50)
5. Midnight Clear (5:04)
6. Two Seconds Of Time... (8:12)
7. Vespers (7:21)
8. ... (Incomplete, Broken And Abstract) (6:03)
9. Cropcircles (4:29)
10. Black And White (6:34)

Total Time: 61:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Hatch / electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, Fx
- Patrick Strawser / piano, organ, Fender Rhodes, Mellotron, synths (Minimoog, Roland Juno 6, Yamaha CS15)
- Richard M. Kesler / bass, saxophone
- Brian Donohoe / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Bonnie To

CD The Laser's Edge ‎- LE 1028 (1997, US)

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VOLARÉ The Uncertainty Principle ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(64%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VOLARÉ The Uncertainty Principle reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars On the outside of this CD is printed the following wonderful summation. VOLARE is an instrumental quartet who blend classic prog and fusion with a distinctive Canterbury flavor. Essential for fans of NATIONAL HEALTH, HATFIELD & THE NORTH & HAPPY THE MAN. Let me build on this brief outline but suggesting that this quartet combine lovely guitar and bass expressions with keyboard and drum interplay in a highly "avante-garde"-like way. At times, I even hear the ol' mellotron adding some symphonia. It has taken me some time to get to the review of this progressive gem, but "just for the record...I'm going to put down" as a real winner and one of those recordings which will keep you amazed.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Debut album from this American quartet (the standard prog quartet with the bassist doubling on sax), and one of the 90's better albums in the Canterburian jazz-rock IMHO and produced by Glass Hammer alumni Babb and Schendel. With an amusing artwork, they recorded this album on the ever-essential label Laser's Edge in 97, and was very understandably well-received critically by the specialized press.

If this group is generally classified as Canterbury-an music (from Gligamesh to Hatfield to National Health and maybe a touch of Brand X), it is primarily due to their light-hearted harmonies, Strawer's particularly well-chosen keyboards sounds (often hinting at Stewart or Miller), every player's excellent skills and participating to the group's overall tightness, intricate compositions laced with original chord progressions.

One could also point to Kenso, Happy The Man or even The Muffins, but there is more than just sounding like other groups: Volaré has its own strengths and spirit as not be considered a vulgar clone band, much like Anglagard managed to recycle 70's sounds without sounding stale. Vespers and Abcircus are jazzier than most of the Kent groups ever gotten (except for maybe Gilgamesh) and some of Strawer's Mini-Moog (more Emersonian than Stewardian) and the mellotron both at the end of Blitz, are proof of this. Certainly not an album to give itself on a few listening, it is nonetheless directly accessible and with repeated listenings, this album will unfold slowly all of its treasures. Certainly one of my top 10 of that year and probably in the top 20 of the decade.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Volare were formed in February 1994 in Athens,Georgia,USA by three students, Patrick Strawser on keyboards,Norwegian bassist Jon-Fredrik Nielsen and Steve Hatch on guitars along with drummer Brian Donohoe.The next year Nielsen leaves the band to be replaced by Dave Denkman and cellist Rob Sutherland.After many months full of rehearsals and gigs,Dave and Rob quit and new bassist Richard Kesler enters the scene.The new Volare quartet records a 5-track demo-tape in 1996,receiving good critics,followed by the recordings of their debut with the scientific title ''The Uncertainty Principle''.This saw the light in 1997 on Laser's Edge.

Following the unique lines of HAPPY THE MAN,the delicacy of RETURN TO FOREVER and the Canterbury craziness of NATIONAL HEALTH,HATFIELD AND THE NORTH or even Dutch SUPERSISTER and compatriots HOWEVER,Volare present a modern mix of Canterbury-sounding Fusion style,full of shifting moods, sudden breaks, slick melodies and flexible passages.With some heavy use of electric piano,distinctive synth parts and frenetic guitar work,the quartet draws the line between the Canterbury-Prog complexity,where interplays follow one another, and the all-time classic Jazz-Fusion style with its numerous breaks and light improvised sections.Rich compositions played with talent but also with a slight modern edge,mainly in a fast tempo,where the members can emerge both as pieces of a band as well as individual leaders.The later tracks of the album have sort of a light Avant vibe, a few of them have also a hardly detected symphonic twist, while guitarist Steve Hatch often recalls ROBERT FRIPP's complex guitar tabs at moments with some fiery and heavy guitar work.

Nothing very original or ground-breaking,but all compositions are definitely at a high level and will fill your time with many great listening moments.Anyone along the lines of Canterbury- Prog,Fusion or any fan of the aforementioned bands should approach without hesitation.Recommended.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The sole fully-developed album by Volare proves - as fellow US band The Muffins did with Manna/Mirage - that you didn't need to be an artist with a personal connection to the extended Wilde Flowers/Soft Machine/Caravan/Uriel/Gong family of bands to produce top-quality Canterbury material. With a sound reminiscent of the best works of Hatfield and the North and National Health - with some more modern-sounding interjections from synthesiser wiz Patrick Strawser - the band produce a very credible effort which will enchant all fans of the subgenre.

It's a genuine shame that we haven't heard more from these gentlemen (aside from Memoirs, a collection of pre-Uncertainty material), because in recent years it seems the only Canterbury releases have been archival stuff from the glory days of the subgenre and the occasional new release from an old hand. I can't be alone in hoping that the distinctive Canterbury take on fusion won't die out as its founders retire from the music scene one by one; albums like The Uncertainty Principle make me think a revival is entirely possible, and prove that there's talent there equal to the challenge. It's a crying shame it didn't spark a Canterbury revival at the time.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This was the first official release from Georgia's own VOLARE in 1997, although "Memoirs" which followed two years later actually contains the original recording they did on cassette from 1996. Confused yet? I do prefer "Memoirs" but you can't go wrong with either recording in my opinion. Both are jazzy affairs and the bass player also adds sax. I was surprised at the heaviness that pops up once in a while and the upfront guitar. It's a pretty cool list of instruments that the keyboardist plays including Fender Rhodes, Yamaha CS-15, Roland Juno-6, Mini-Moog, Alesis, Korg, Roland Synths, Piano, Organ and Mellotron. They thank Ken Golden who's label released this album plus Ken was the Executive Producer. Steve F. is thanked along with Producers Fred Schendel and Steve Babb and FRENCH TV's John Robinson among others.

"Caught In A Combine" opens with rather raw sounding guitar as the drums and piano join in. Some nice upfront bass as well. It settles into a jazzy mode before a minute although the guitar continues to solo over top. Synths come and go and then the guitar stops as the drums and piano lead the way 2 1/2 minutes in. It turns heavy after 3 minutes as the guitar returns. "Abcircus" opens with some killer synths as the guitar, drums and more join in. Nasty stuff that is contrasted with a mellow piano/ bass section. Beautiful sound 2 1/2 minutes in with those melancholic synths. Love the bass before 4 minutes then those melancholic synths return. We keep getting teased with heavy outbreaks.

"Blitz" opens with bass, piano, cymbals and mellotron as some relaxed guitar joins in. I like the depth of sound here as the guitar continues to solo. The guitar stops after 2 minutes then the tempo picks up as the guitar returns. I like this as we get synths as well before the organ replaces the synths. A calm with piano only before 4 1/2 minutes then it starts to build. Some aggressive guitar after 5 1/2 minutes and he will light it up. Keyboards lead before 7 minutes. Great sound! Mellotron is back after 8 minutes.

"One Minute Of thought..." has intricate guitar along with sparse piano and drums. A pastoral track for the most part. "Midnight Clear" opens with sounds droning as bass and cymbals join in. I'm imagining driving in the city at night for some reason here. The sax starts to solo tastefully over top then the tempo picks up. "...In Two Seconds Of Time..." has a mellow beginning but it starts to build some before a minute. A beat and intricate guitar join in then it becomes more powerful when the synths join in. Kicking some ass 3 1/2 minutes in until a calm arrives a minute later. The contrasts continue. "Vespers" opens with cymbals, intricate guitar and some atmosphere. It picks up before 2 minutes as synths join in. They will come and go but the piano and drums stand out during this section. It settles down again as contrasts continue.

"...(In Complete, Broken, And Abstract)" is laid back until it kicks into gear before 2 minutes. Sax starts to play over top, guitar too. It's surprisingly heavy 2 1/2 minutes in. Dissonant sax follows. "Cropcircles" is uptempo with plenty of guitar. A calm after 1 1/2 minutes but it's brief as synths and organ replace the guitar. Another calm follows with piano and drums as contrasts continue. "Black And White" opens with picked guitar, bass and drums until we get some aggressive guitar before 1 1/2 minutes as it all turns powerful. Synths to the fore at 2 1/2 minutes as it stays intense. The tempo picks up before 4 minutes as piano ad drums stand out to the end.

There's not much about this release that makes me think of Canterbury but it's a solid album that is a slight step down from "Memoirs" in my opinion. Very enjoyable.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars What?!! A Canterbury style album from a new group--their debut!--in 1999. What's more: It's really good! Great keyboards and fuzzy guitars withs some awesome horn work as well ("Midnight Clear" [5:04]). Though less psychedelic than many releases from the peak era of Canterbury Scene, and perhaps a little tamer, more laid back and melodic than others (though there are plenty of surprisingly abrasive King Crimson-like sounds and burst of music as well), this is truly first rate, top notch Canterbury style instrumental jazz music! Check out the acoustic and electric guitar work in "One Minute of Thought..." (3:50), or just let yourself fall into the grooves and dreamy lulls of "...In Two Seconds of Time..." (8:12)--whichever song you choose I guarantee you you're in for a surprisingly pleasant ride.

1. "Caught in a Combine" (4:34) a little KCrimson, SDan, and NatHealth. (8.5/10)

2. "Abcircus" (6:35) opens as funky jazz with a bit of a Weather Report flair before turning soft prog/Canterbury in the third minute. Nice Minimoog and electric guitar sounds & soli. Finishes with an abrasive Crimsonian thrust. (9.25/10)

3. "Blitz" (8:47) Mellotron with jazzy combo makes it feel like Belgian Canterbury band COS. In the second minute it all changes with the arrival of Dave Stewart-like Fender Rhodes and -Phil Miller-like guitar. Another shift in the third minute showcases the drummer (as does much of the song). The song with its multiple themes and parts certainly is all over the place! (18/20)

4. "One Minute Of Thought.." (3:50) a very jazzy, acoustic guitar-dominated song. Very fine almost Pat Metheny-esque guitar play. Also nice Fender Rhodes and lead electric guitar play in the second half. (9/10)

5. "Midnight Clear" (5:04) Sax on display! Incredibly melodic, like a jazz standard of old. (9.25/10)

6. " Two Seconds Of Time..." (8:12) echoed solo electric guitar opens this one before drums, sax, and bass join in. Chorded scales are played around with for the first 90 seconds before a guitar-backed onslaught of keyboard soli take over. I like the flanged drums. And the subtle key and tempo changes in the mid-section as the lead guitar saws away (with the sax). The second half becomes more CAMEL- and PAT METHENY-ish. Something about this music also reminds me of the band YEZDA URFA. (13.5/15)

7. "Vespers" (7:21) Acoustic guitar and piano with cymbal play open this one in a very Pat Metheny/LYLE MAYS way--which it maintains for the entire song. Great Minimoog solo at the end.(13.25/15)

8. "... (Incomplete, Broken And Abstract)" (6:03) back to NatHealth "Borogroves"-like stuff--at least until the Latin rhythms and abrasive RFrippian guitars and saxes enter. Things slow down in the second half but the Fripp-like buzz-horn guitar continues to lead the way until the rather peaceful lull before the Crimsonian final 15 seconds. (8.5/10)

9. "Cropcircles" (4:29) bouncing Hammond and fuzzy Phil Miller-like guitar with Fender Rhodes and very Richard Sinclair-Pip Pyle rhythm section makes this seem all too familiar. Great sound, great performances; the band is very tight. Then it gets soft before bursting out in another abrasive, yet clean-sounding passage to take us to the Hammond soloing end. (9.25/10)

10. "Black And White" (6:34) some great musicianship on display on this one--though it is not quite as melodic or inviting as the others. The lead guitar is doing a great job offering his interpretation of the more aggressive side of guitarist Robert Fripp. This song could be from one of the HAPPY THE MAN albums. (9/10)

Total Time: 61:28

An album of very pleasant, creative, unusual compositions performed by some very fine musicians. They definitely delivered some great melodies that are now forever drilled into my brain.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of Canterbury-inspired jazz-rock fusion.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Volare's first album is solid and consistent. To a certain extent, I would agree with other reviewers that compare this album to works by jazzier Canterbury bands like Hatfield and the North and National Health. Like these bands, Volare uses light- hearted and melancholic melodies for there m ... (read more)

Report this review (#67515) | Posted by fragile43k | Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Absolutely fantastic album, great instrumental passages with lots of tempo changes and melodic hooks. National Health, Hatfield and the North and maybe a little bit of Gilgamesh can be heard in the music. I also hear Bruford's "One of a Kind" too. This one I played for a long time.....the Cant ... (read more)

Report this review (#28944) | Posted by swalter | Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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