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Thread: Featured Album: Volaré - The Uncertainty Principle

  1. #1
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured Album: Volaré - The Uncertainty Principle

    http://www.progarchives.com/progress...18102017_r.jpg

    Let's move on down to the East Coast (well almost, Athens Georgia)


    Volaré - The Uncertainty Principle

    volaré .jpg



    Tracks Listing:
    2. Abcircus (6:35)
    3. Blitz (8:47)
    4. One Minute Of Thought.. (3:50)
    5. Midnight Clear (5:04)
    6. ...in 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)


    Line-up:
    - 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


    Here is what Warthur had to say on PA about it
    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.

    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  2. #2
    It's a bit uneven (IMO), but what's good here is REALLY great! It was unusual and highly unexpected for a younger band to do this kind of thing back in the second half of the 90s, tailing the (uhm…) 'renaissance' of (er...) "prog" and so on. But I also recall it as being a truly pleasant surprise.

    I remember exactly at which event I purchased this, btw - at the very same record fair that I got another fine Laser's Edge-release, The Sins of Our Saviours. I need to go home and listen to both anew.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  3. #3
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    I remember seeing a Canterbury band in Eugene, OR - maybe around then. It combined an old-hippie drummer with three considerably younger U of O jazz majors. Nothing earthshaking, but fun.

  4. #4
    Listening now to this for the first time - I know Brian the drummer through his work as an archivist for Rascal Reporters!

  5. #5
    It took me a bit to get into this one, but it eventually won me over. I'd agree it is a little uneven, but it's help up really well over time for me, and I think was a strong statement for a debut album (notwithstanding the material that came out later but was recorded before Uncertainty Principle). Haven't spun it for a while, so good time for a revisit!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I remember exactly at which event I purchased this, btw - at the very same record fair that I got another fine Laser's Edge-release, The Sins of Our Saviours. I need to go home and listen to both anew.
    Sins is still my favorite A Triggering Myth album. That would be a nice double-spin with the Volare, maybe I'll do that as well! I bought both CDs from Mark Cella of M&M Music, who appears on Sins of our Saviours, and was also the drummer for Eccentric Orbit. Good memories!

    Bill

  6. #6
    Superb album opened to National Health (of queues and cures)
    " je m'amuse à vieillir , c'est une occupation de tous les instants " Paul Léautaud

  7. #7
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    A band I only know from the ProgDay Encore Sampler, and I liked what I heard.
    (and there is I think a track that is not on this Album)

    One of those albums that I always forget to purchase, have to do something about that.

  8. #8
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    They were nice guys but the band imploded shortly after we released the CD. I file them under "couldabeensomebody". Brian and Steve joined a version of Somnambulist but that turned into a complete shit storm. I think I have an unreleased album or demos squirreled away.

  9. #9
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LASERCD View Post
    I think I have an unreleased album or demos squirreled away.
    Maybe that could be tackled by the label after you get Il Peni Grande all straightened out??
    Steve F.

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  10. #10
    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    I know how to get I Peni Grande straightened out but if I post the video I’ll be banned from PE.

  11. #11
    Haven't played this one in a while, nor Memoirs..., but I have good memories. Patrick Strawser is the current keyboard-player of French TV.

  12. #12
    I got more into this one once I accepted that “nothing not from Canterbury that people describe as Canterbury will ever sound like Canterbury” and just ran with it. Nice Crimso-esque prog with fusion and chamber touches. Definitely a grower.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Definitely a grower.
    So is I Peni Grande.

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I accepted that “nothing not from Canterbury that people describe as Canterbury will ever sound like Canterbury” and just ran with it. Nice Crimso-esque prog with fusion and chamber touches.
    Strange. I hear Miller'ish guitars, Health'y harmonics and dynamics, some Gowen'er keys and Pyle'ian drummer-racket - but I hear very little Cim Klingson.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Strange. I hear Miller'ish guitars, Health'y harmonics and dynamics, some Gowen'er keys and Pyle'ian drummer-racket - but I hear very little Cim Klingson.
    The guitars are far more Fripp than Miller to my ears (seriously, where do you even hear the Miller parallel? I sure don’t!). Sure, there’s a lot of Fender Rhodes, but so too is there on a lot of other albums that aren’t Canterbury, and I don’t get a Canterbury vibe from anything else I’m hearing.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  17. #17
    ^ The thickly distorted, somewhat unnerved or uneasy guitar takes melodic, upbeat lead already throughout the opening track of The Uncertainty Principle, a direct reference to Miller's trajectories of extended ostinati in both Hatfield and National Health. Flipp never did that (although he did assume leading melody in softer parts such as that whiny voicing in "Starless"), and I don't think the tone resembles his very much either. Steve Hatch (axeman) also tends to wring his strings double-up when accentuating harder parts of such ostinati, something I never heard in Flipp. The entire album is packed with seventh chord-based harmony and according route development of melody, the alternate or sometimes juxtaposed leads echoing the dialogues between Miller/Stewart so obviously that it's almost a bit too much at times.

    And then there's the liner notes, outlining the very intention of making this a 'Canterburian' styled statement of sound. They succeeded quite well at that - with or without the apparent communication of any 'vibe'.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #18

  19. #19
    So I've spun this CD several times over the past week or so. I keep anticipating listening and getting my ears around it, but for some reason it kept losing me. I'd follow the first track, then it just seems to vanish and my attention goes elsewhere.

    So today I took it in the car with me going to a recording session and really focused on it. I think I figured out what was happening. The first five tracks have a terrible mix. Drums sound great but are way too loud relative to the music, especially in the more delicate sections where even cymbal rolls and hi hats obscure keyboard and guitar parts. Bass is also a mushy mess on these tracks. I'm sure this is why I was tuning it out, I even had trouble following it in the car.

    Things improve around track six and are better through the end. Track seven, Vespers, in particular really stands out. It sounds like it came from an entirely different studio, drums are mixed totally differently and they have much stronger reverb and sit in the mix far better. Track nine is good too. Supposedly all these came from sessions in the same studio between March and April 1997, so I'm not sure what happened, but it's like they got mixed at totally different times and there's little consistency.

    I do like the music, they do some great stuff. Vespers has a Happy the Man feel. The rest sits between a variety of Canterbury-type bands, like Matching Mole, Haftield, and occasional National Health nods. Guitars are very Phil Miller, and the keys are like Alan Gowen's, particularly the Rhodes, but also some of the monophonic synths. So there's a lot to like here, but man I wish those first five tracks, and parts of later tracks, were better mixed. Even good mastering couldn't save this one, except where the mix is good.

    Bill

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    I got more into this one once I accepted that “nothing not from Canterbury that people describe as Canterbury will ever sound like Canterbury” and just ran with it. Nice Crimso-esque prog with fusion and chamber touches. Definitely a grower.
    Different people hear different things, but to my ears this is a clear take on the Canterbury idiom - and a good one too. There are parts that seem to have been lifted from Rotters Club directly - like the coda to Blitz which is reminiscent (to say the least) of the Yes No Interlude finale - before the main theme returns. They also remind me a lot of Supersister. And yes, the guitar work in many parts is Miller as hell to my ears, but I suggested in the Canterbury thread that I always hear some Fripp into Miller's style anyway. So I am not the one to say that these guys never heard of King Crimson - but the vibe of it is light and ethereal, and therefore not a stranger to the Canterbury spirit at all.

    Of course this is a fresh take, and a quite original too, supported by modern production values which give it a more contemporary color. I like it a lot. It is an ambitious record, with great ideas, but somehow the band drifts away and loses orientation in this labyrinthine journey. It's hard to keep all this dense material together, only the great masters could do it properly. And yet they tried and the result is very interesting and rewarding to my ears.

  21. #21
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    This is my preferred Volare album. A nice little slice of non-English canturburian prog. Shame they dissolved more or less immediately with it's release. Would have been nice to hear where they went next.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

  22. #22
    I'm listening again right now and I have to say that the Canterburian flair is even more pronounced than I remembered. "Vespers", if created by anyone with any proximity to speak of in the 70s, would very likely have been regarded as a classic of the reference. Truly beautiful piano work, great, great harmonies and some lovely dynamic. Parts of it remind me of the NHealth Missing Pieces outtakes.

    An uneven record, but very worth owning and spinning still today.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I'm listening again right now and I have to say that the Canterburian flair is even more pronounced than I remembered. "Vespers", if created by anyone with any proximity to speak of in the 70s, would very likely have been regarded as a classic of the reference. Truly beautiful piano work, great, great harmonies and some lovely dynamic. Parts of it remind me of the NHealth Missing Pieces outtakes.
    Totally agree. Vespers definitely jumped out at me on my close listen, not only having great sonics, but really exhibiting masterful composition. This is the track that reminded me a bit of Happy the Man, but I could easily hear this on Missing Pieces as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    An uneven record, but very worth owning and spinning still today.
    Pretty much how I feel about it now as well. Would have loved to have seen where they went after this, but I could say that about a lot of bands.

    Bill

  24. #24
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I'm listening again right now and I have to say that the Canterburian flair is even more pronounced than I remembered. "Vespers", if created by anyone with any proximity to speak of in the 70s, would very likely have been regarded as a classic of the reference. Truly beautiful piano work, great, great harmonies and some lovely dynamic. Parts of it remind me of the NHealth Missing Pieces outtakes.

    An uneven record, but very worth owning and spinning still today.
    Yup, you can easily imagine that I re-spinned a few times before deciding to make it a Featured Album.

    This is typically the kind of CD that can spin constantly for a week in my car, and to me, this is full-on Canterbury-sounds that I' looking for. It usually gets spinned at least once a year.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I'm listening again right now and I have to say that the Canterburian flair is even more pronounced than I remembered. "Vespers", if created by anyone with any proximity to speak of in the 70s, would very likely have been regarded as a classic of the reference. Truly beautiful piano work, great, great harmonies and some lovely dynamic. Parts of it remind me of the NHealth Missing Pieces outtakes.

    An uneven record, but very worth owning and spinning still today.
    Indeed, Vespera stands out. Prog lived.

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