Vulfpeck – Disco Ulysses

From the ridiculously tight rhythm section that is Vulfpeck, I’ve been listening to Disco Ulysses (Instrumental).

Disco Ulysses manages to extract the pure energy of funk and deliver it in a sub-four minute dancefloor groove. Breezy rhythm guitar quickly gives way to prominent kick, snare and bassline – it’s a strong performance from Joe Dart on the Fender bass –  in a track that could only be described as minimal disco. So as to avoid any chance of confusion, Vulfpeck have kindly indicated that this is an instrumental, a mere interlude as we traverse their Hill Climber album, but like so much of their work before – what an instrumental this is!

Formed at the University of Michigan and shaped by Jack Stratton’s ideas of what a swinging 60s rhythm section might be like if they had Germanic roots, Vulfpeck came to be. They have since put out track after track of head bobbing funk across four EPs and a further four albums – Hill Climber being their most recent. 

What started as esoteric YouTube videos covering areas of rhythmic theory, musical mashups and general bizarreness has grown to encompass the entire Vulfpeck catalogue since the first video emerged of debut track “Beastly”. Each being recorded and filmed in a single live take; highly compressed and in a characteristically low resolution picture. They’ve become somewhat of a cult hit amongst their fans, providing in-jokes and bringing humour along with their impeccable musicianship and timing.

Stratton has leveraged on Vulfpeck’s success to highlight inequalities in payouts to artists from streaming platforms and has gone so far as proposing his own solution to how Spotify calculates distributions. Their 2014 ‘album’ Sleepify contained 10 whole tracks of nothingness – just over 5 minutes of total silence – and, through the help of fans playing it on repeat, generated enough in royalties to cover the cost of putting on their follow up 2014 tour for free. Spotify have unfortunately decided that they no longer want to host Sleepify but if you’re desperate to have a listen, just take your headphones off somewhere quiet. In the meantime, here’s Disco Ulysses (Instrumental)…