Every time I listen to Pit Er Pat, I am reminded of the early silent films of Man Ray, the way the camera fixates on an object or a motion and, by fixing its gaze, somehow both illuminates and changes it. Like Ui before them, these guys know that, if you give voice to the twins of rhythm and repetition, magical things can happen.
The evidence of that kind of extra-linear musical thinking is in high supply on High Time, a thoroughly modern invention — the trio’s sixth record and its first outing since 2007’s Covers EP. On the album-opening “ANNO IV:XX,” percussive elements and a faint, trebly guitar lead the way as much as a repeating and transfixing count-off that never seems to transcend beyond the number 2. On the moody “Creation Stepper,” we’re not treated to verses and choruses as much as expanding bridges built around xylophone and a well-buried bass. On the closing “The Good Morning Song,” we’re bombarded with walls of orchestrated and found sounds but the driver is a pulsing piece of keyboard melodrama that envelopes you even as it offers the song a simple pace, a stable foundation on which to build.
That’s not to say the record is some brainy academic exercise. “Copper Pennies,” with its punctuating bass, and “The Cairo Shuffle,” whose main beeps and blurts sound like an organ filtered through a fuzz pedal, speak directly to the hips. “Trod A Long” features a percussive thrust of a reggae flair. Even less percussion-focused songs, like “Evacuation Days,” seem like a flirtatious invitation to the dance-floor. (Fay Davis-Jeffers’ sultry delivery doesn’t put any dents into the suggestive nature of it all.)
It’s hard to pick stand-out tracks because the record is full of them – from the memorable repetitions of “ANNO IV:XX” to the subtle jazz slither of “Omen” to the wonderful, Tortoise inspired slinking of “Creation Stepper.” Even the record’s sole aside, a two-minute offering titled “My Darkers” can feel magical, a piece that transforms a church organ murmur into something both menacing and comforting. It’s an interesting bit of alchemy and, like much that surrounds it, it works.