Since roaring out of the collegiate confines of Big Rapids, Mich. (home of the Ferris State Bulldogs … go ’dogs!), a mere eight years ago, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus has energized the national and international Jam community with a diverse stylistic range and a raucous and freewheeling approach to its live presentation.
As UV Hippo has shifted personnel and matured as a musical unit, the quintet has developed a unique Jam profile, incorporating Funk, Electronica, Space Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Prog and Bluegrass into its songs and sets without the slightest hint of irony or novelty. The band’s first two albums, 2006’s Background Music and 2008’s Songs for the Reaper, were very well received but ultimately just an appetizer for the main course, 2011’s hugely successful Square Pegs Round Holes, an LP which earned Homegrown Music Networks’ 2011 Album of the Year honors and made it to No. 3 on Relix Magazine/Jambands.com’s National Radio Chart.
UV Hippo’s latest release is a 20-minute concept EP, Broomhilda Suite. Normally the band offers individual tracks for sale digitally but for the thematically structured Broomhilda, they’re insisting that online buyers purchase all three songs to experience the totality of the piece (the physical disc is also available at live shows). The three songs — “Moth,” “Eko’s Theme” and the massive 10-minute title track — are further evidence of UV Hippo’s amazing creative vision and mind-boggling command of style and substance.
Fans of Phish, Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, early Kansas, Jeff Beck’s Jazz explorations and Sound Tribe Sector 9’s expansive jamtronics should take to Ultraviolet Hippopotamus like an acid-dosed pig takes to electric mud.
ULTRAVIOLET HIPPOPOTAMUS performs Friday, Dec. 14 at The Mad Frog in Clifton.